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Why This Green Building Consultant Trusts ZIP System R-Sheathing

Filed in Sponsored Content by on March 9, 2018 0 Comments

Green building consulting and certification companies like SK Collaborative specialize in the specific guidelines that must be met for certification by LEED for Homes, the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) and Energy Star and use energy modeling services to find products that deliver the highest possible performance — while still meeting budget requirements — when consulting on single- and multifamily projects.

Because of its impact on the energy efficiency of a building, improving the wall assembly by addressing thermal bridging is a critical aspect of meeting green building certification and 2015 International Energy Conservation Code guidelines. Exterior continuous foam insulation can help improve the wall assembly’s effective overall R-value by reducing thermal bridging, where heat energy is able to bypass the cavity insulation of a wall assembly and escape the building envelope, occurring most often at the wall studs.

Why exterior foam insulation is important in cold climates

seville“In a typical wood-framed wall without exterior continuous insulation, thermal bridging occurs at each stud, plate and header, reducing the effective overall R-value of the wall well below the rated value of the cavity insulation,” SK Collaborative partner Carl Seville said. “By adding a layer of continuous insulation, the thermal bridging is eliminated, improving the overall efficiency of the wall higher than the rated value of the cavity insulation.”

ZIP System® R-sheathing’s all-in-one structural continuous insulation sheathing panel makes installing continuous insulation more streamlined than traditional methods, where builders would install sheathing, rigid insulation and then a weather barrier in three separate steps. With a single panel-and-tape system, ZIP System R-sheathing provides continuous insulation, structural durability, a weather-resistive barrier and an air barrier.

“In cold climates, installing continuous insulation such as ZIP System R-sheathing can significantly reduce thermal bridging at framing members, improving the overall thermal performance of exterior walls, particularly during periods of severe cold,” Seville said.

Both exterior continuous insulation and advanced framing techniques are key components of certifications like LEED and Energy Star. Seville said even the most advanced framing can’t eliminate thermal bridging, so he does both.

Exterior continuous foam insulation can also help keep the interior surface of the sheathing warmer in cold weather. This reduces the likelihood of condensation gathering on the surface within the wall between the insulation and sheathing, which could lead to issues such as mold and mildew. Cold sheathing without insulation increases the risk of interstitial condensation due to vapor traveling from the home’s warm interior to its exterior walls.

Continuous foam insulation in mild climates

While cold climates can benefit greatly from continuous insulation, Seville is located in Decatur, Georgia — a mild Zone 3 climate. Recently, his city adopted a comprehensive development ordinance that requires all new buildings and major renovations to get green certification from options like LEED, EarthCraft and NGBS.sheathing

Seville worked on a house that was to be LEED V4 certified and chose ZIP System R-sheathing, which contributed an R-3 value for the wall assembly. On the roof and the top of the second-floor ceiling joists, Seville chose ZIP System® sheathing and tape. Used in roof applications, ZIP System® sheathing eliminates the need for felt underlayment.

“This is a passive house style technique that will allow me to create a complete air seal on the exterior surface of the walls and ceiling, avoiding problems with ceiling penetrations, such as lights.”

To learn more about how ZIP System R-sheathing helps reimagine exterior enclosures by meeting structural requirements while providing built-in air, water and thermal management, visit InsulateYourBuild.com.

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