High-Performance Buildings

High-Performance Buildings

Originally posted on Building Enclosure online

A Simpler Envelope System for Meeting Stringent Energy Codes

SIPS were a key component in the LEED Platinum design of Montana’s Little Bighorn College Health & Wellness Center. Photo courtesy of JK Lawrence Photography.

It’s no secret energy codes are becoming ever more rigorous. As building designs become more energy-efficient, regulators adopt more extensive measures to achieve further efficiencies.

For example, codes are moving from requiring insulation of a certain R-value, to considering the building envelope’s overall performance. Take California’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, for example. Under this code, California requires that by 2030 all new commercial buildings in the state must achieve zero net energy status. Getting there will mean building teams must achieve tight, well-insulated building envelopes, in addition to implementing a host of other efficiency actions.

Additionally, since the 2012 edition, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires continuous insulation (CI) in the building envelope. ASHRAE 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, defines CI as:

“Insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings. It is installed on the interior, exterior, or is integral to any opaque surface of the building envelope.”

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