Buttoning Up: Products for an Energy-Efficient Building

No matter what eco-friendly products you offer in your building, it doesn't truly matter if heat is escaping through improperly sealed windows and doors, or if the building is not insulated well.

By Erika Schnitzer, Managing Editor

The true key to energy efficiency is a tight building envelope.

No matter what eco-friendly products you offer in your building or what sustainability measures you take in an effort to decrease your energy usage, it doesn’t truly matter if heat is escaping through improperly sealed windows and doors, or if the building is not insulated well. Green roofs and reflective roof coatings are other effective ways to reduce energy costs.

Crystal Window & Door Systems’ Evolution Series 9000 Tilt & Turn Window Line offers the dual-action functionality of a large project-in hopper window, which tilts in at the top, and a casement window, which is hinged at the side. These windows are suitable for both new construction and replacement applications. The new window line is available in a tilt-and-turn model and a fixed picture window. The tilt-in feature provides a four-inch opening at the top of the window to offer “no draft” ventilation, while the swing-in casement operation has an optional key lock and provides full opening ventilation. The window sash mates to the frame with zero sight line addition, and Monticello metal corner keys reinforce the full miter sash and frame corners. Concealed multi-point locks secure the window when closed. The key to the multi-chambered frame and sash thermal efficiency is its half-inch thermal barrier polyamide I-Bar strut system. The glass unit is available with either double or triple glass. All Crystal aluminum windows receive a sustainable power coat paint finish meeting
AAMA 2604 national standards (www.crystalwindows.com).

CertainTeed Corp.’s CertaCoat IC Intumescent Coating is designed for use with CertainTeed’s CertaSpray open cell polyurethane spray foam. It is a single-component, latex-based coating that enhances the fire-rated performance of CertaSpray open cell foam insulation and delivers coverage at 200 square feet per gallon. CertaCoat IC is designed to provide an ignition barrier over CertaSpray open cell foam in places where access is restricted to service of utilities. CertaCoat IC can be administered with an airless sprayer, roller or brush. In addition, it is a latex-based product and easily cleans up with water. CertaSpray foam insulation provides an effective seal, which reduces energy loss and improves the indoor air quality. CertaSpray helps meet the requirements of Energy Star and is only installed by CertainTeed-qualified contractors in order to achieve the most rigorous quality standards (www.certainteed.com).

EcoCell by CMS (Cellulose Materials Solutions LLC) is made from recycled and renewable fibers, the majority of which is post-consumer recycled newspapers, and has superior thermal and noise absorption properties. It contains no harmful airborne particles, is made with an EPA-registered fungicide to resist mold, and does not itch or irritate skin like fiberglass insulation can. Available in two thicknesses and sizes and easy to install without requiring special equipment, EcoCell is a Class A fire-rated material, according to standards of the International Building Code (www.cmsgreen.com).

Four Coat’N’Cool products recently earned an Energy Star rating. A cool roof can lower interior temperatures of a building by between eight and 12 degrees during the hottest four hours of a summer day. The Energy Star-rated coatings, which can be applied like paint (either rolled or sprayed), are available in four colors: base coat white, topcoat antique white, topcoat butter cream and topcoat siltstone. The Coat’N’Cool system is most effective when the reflective base coat is used in conjunction with the UV-resistant topcoat. This gives owners and managers a range of 36 color choices, which all reflect solar radiation to a degree. Even black represents a 30.5 percent total solar reflectance. The long-lasting coating is engineered through the use of a water-borne epoxy technology with inorganic compound pigments, which are finely crushed and mixed with the water-borne epoxy to achieve high reflectivity and high fade resistance. Cool’N’Coat can also protect a roof from sun damage, which can later help prevent maintenance issues (www.coatncool.com).

A green roof with Sempergreen vegetation blankets can retain 50 percent to 80 percent of stormwater and provide substantial energy savings. The blankets provide a minimum of 85 percent plant coverage upon installation, compared to most systems that have between 5 percent and 20 percent coverage. The vegetation blankets consist of a coconut fiber blanket, a layer of Sempergreen substrate and various sedum (an Alpine plant that can withstand rapid temperature fluctuations, drought, poor soil with no organic matter, full sun, snow and high wind) species. The foliage functions as a water-storing reservoir, which it utilizes only at night when the temperatures are lower. The vegetation blankets are delivered as a roll, the standard size of which is approximately 4 feet wide and 6 feet long, but rolls of up to 60 feet are also available (www.sempergreen.com).

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