Architect Bruce Eason of New South Design specializes in classic, old world, custom home design. Many of his designs are also sold as house plans through his company New South Classics. Eason was contacted by a homeowner interested in constructing his popular Seabrook home plan on the southeast coast of Seabrook Island, outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
“We took our Seabrook design, with traditional stick framing, and modified it to withstand the forces of nature as this house was to be built right on the water,” said Eason. “The owner wanted to be sure that they had enough structure to handle the wind and water loads that typical hurricanes with wind and tidal surges could produce, and meet applicable building codes.”
Working with a structural engineer, Eason specified the Advantage ICF System® for the above grade walls. The Advantage ICF System delivers two continuous layers of expanded polystyrene insulation for exceptional energy efficiency, along with the strength and durability of reinforced concrete. Light gauge steel framing was used for the roof and interior walls.
“The Charleston summers are hot and humid,” said Eason. “ICF construction added greatly to the thermal protection for increased efficiency and comfort. The strength of the ICFs combined with the all steel framing is very important in hurricane prone areas. In this area you’ve got wind, water, heat and humidity—ICFs help mitigate all of that.”
Despite the home’s robust structure that is designed to withstand 140 mph winds, it retains the character of an authentic turn-ofthe- century Charleston-style home.
“You can use a new technology like ICFs and finish with a home that looks appropriate in the Charleston Lowcountry,” said Eason. “What’s behind the walls is very different than what you expect. It is very high-tech, energy-efficient, and it enhances the safety and durability of the house.”
For more information on the strength of ICFs and how to integrate them into your project, visit http://www.advantageicf.com
Redwood Terrace Supportive Housing in Richmond, Indiana offers a supportive housing environment with 24-hour onsite supervision for the mentally and physically impaired. Funding or the 57,000 sq. ft. building was largely provided through the .S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) OME program. But the funding came with strict guidelines for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
Architect Sam Miller and the design team at ARCHitecture trio took a whole-building design approach to sustainability that included a passive solar design, high performance building envelope and efficient HVAC system.
“One of the things we do from the beginning is think of the entire building as an integrated unit,” said Miller. “For example, if you get a really efficient envelope you can reduce the size of your air handlers.”
Miller specified the Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) system for the walls and roof of the 60-unit building.
“We had some familiarity with Insulspan and thought it would be a really excellent choice to make an energy-efficient building,” he said.
Insulspan SIPs have a continuous core of expanded polystyrene insulation and less framing than wood framed walls with cavity insulation, reducing the effect of thermal bridging through studs. Air leakage rates for energy efficient buildings using Insulspan SIPs will typically be lower—another potential source of energy savings.
The combination of Insulspan SIPs with energy-efficient windows and air handlers achieved calculated energy savings of 40 percent over the 2006 code, according to REM/Rate software. These improvements are projected to save $44,000 annually for nonprofit building owner Centerstone.
“With a relatively simple solution of good design, Insulspan SIPs, and energy-efficient HVAC systems, ARCHitecture trio attained tremendous energy savings,” said Plasti-Fab Sales Representative Aaron Hinde, who assisted on the project.
For more information about SIPs visit www.insulspan.com
Written by Sean McBeth
Follow me on twitter @Sean_PlastiFab
Last week we took a slight detour from our commercial series to highlight the importance of sustainability. If you can remember back to the previous blog, Melissa talked about Plasti-Fab GeoSpan® compressible fill material and its uses in commercial construction. Moving up our commercial structure brings us to the topic of this week’s blog: Frost Wall or Grade Beam construction using Advantage ICFs.
The subject of this discussion will be using the Advantage ICF System to construct an insulated grade beam or frost wall as the foundation for a commercial building. Just like residential construction, commercial construction is not exempt from the ever increasing concern with energy efficiency, and the reduced consumption of non-renewable resources. So when you are constructing a new commercial building it would only make sense to build using the most energy efficient building practices and materials available.
The ADVANTAGE ICF System® is the ideal building material for below grade forming since it is light weight and easily modified. By using a stay-in-place ICF as your concrete form for your frost wall or grade beam you eliminate the need for reusable forms to be rented and erected prior to placing the concrete. The stay-in-place forms do not have be stripped and returned once the concrete is set. The Advantage ICF system provides R-22.5 monolithic insulation that eliminates the added labour costs involved in having to insulate the entire perimeter of a commercial building’s frost wall.
One of the added advantages of using the ADVANTAGE ICF System for frost wall / grade beam applications is that it is an easily modified building material. What this means is that you have the flexibility to make changes to the block prior to the concrete pour. Making these changes is very easy. In the case of a grade beam application one face of the block can be easily cut with a hand saw to incorporate inner pilasters to support columns. Of course you will need to ensure proper bracing when any of the ICF blocks have been modified from their original form.
Having a properly insulated frost wall under your commercial building equates to lower operating costs for the tenant(s) of the building. As less energy is being used, related greenhouse gasses are proportionally reduced. Today, more than ever, building an energy-efficient structure is the right environmental choice and will provide savings in energy costs.
To learn more about the Advantage ICF System visit www.advantageicf.com
Stay tuned for next week when we cover Insulating the Slab.
** At Plasti-Fab we believe sustainability is important; important enough to take a week off from our regularly scheduled blog series to give credit to the efforts of the Kitchener Ontario location for their efforts in innovative sustainability.
Plasti-Fab‘s brand new storm water management features are getting national attention! On October 11th municipal water and waste water managers from across the country came to the site to check out their 2 new rain gardens and infiltration gallery that will divert up to 20,500L from storm sewers every year.
The challenge for the Plasti-Fab facility in Kitchener was to find a more sustainable solution for their storm water. Plasti-Fab is located in an industrial sub-division in central Kitchener Ontario built in the 1950s. It is situated on 3.81 acres of land with 90% impervious area coverage. The total building envelope is 94,732 square feet. Storm water is either diverted from the roof directly into the storm drain, or from eaves troughs and downspouts which discharge the storm water into the ground.
After the RAIN Business visit Plasti-Fab received in July of this year, it was determined that they would be eligible to apply for credits for existing controls of their rooftop drains and by diverting a portion of their roof to newly installed rain gardens and an infiltration gallery.
Rain water is now re-directed from 2 rooftop downspouts on Plasti-Fab’s warehouse on the Union Street side of the building. Water from the downspout on the south corner of the building is now directed to an:
A) 873L infiltration gallery which overflows into a
B) 2700L rain garden (1.5x6mx0.5m) which can store and infiltrate storm water from a single 25mm rainfall event.
The downspout on the east corner of the building is directed to…
C) A second rain garden measuring the same dimensions as the first.
This creates a storm water system with a 6273L capacity.
To learn more about Plasti-Fab’s efforts in sustainability, visit www.pfbsustainability.com or follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Plasti-Fab/141865299208561 or twitter: https://twitter.com/PlastiFab
written by: Melissa Carruthers
Follow Me on Twitter: @MelissaC_PFB
This week we delve right into the applications for commercial construction. To start, I will be covering a geotechnical application for compressible fill material.
I don’t normally write very technical blogs, I like to keep them more of an easy read. However my latest blog is by far my most technical one yet. Bear with me and my attempt. Let’s discuss compressible fill material, specifically Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpan compressible fill material. When looking for a compressible fill material Plasti-Fab GeoSpan Compressible Fill material is a closed cell expanded polystyrene (EPS) product. It is designed to act as a compressible fill material which will reduce the potential forces on structures in the event soil expansion occurs after construction is completed. It can be distinguished from other EPS materials because of its brownish earth tone.
Something to note, before construction begins a site review needs to be conducted by a geotechnical engineer. It is important to know what kind of soils are on the building site, because soil deposits which contain substantial proportions of clay mineral particles can have different expansion possibilities. Soil expansion may affect the performance of structural members even when pile foundations are used. The magnitude of soil expansion experienced will depend upon factors such as moisture loss during construction and new conditions imposed on the soil as a result of construction.
GeoSpan Compressible Fill material is intended to be used primarily as a compressible medium under concrete grade beams or heavier structural members supported on piles. GeoSpan compressible fill material is designed to support expected construction live loads and the weight of the structural member until the concrete has cured and gained enough strength to be self-supporting.
If reinforcing is to be supported directly on GeoSpan compressible fill material, reinforcing support chairs used must be of a type, and in a sufficient quantity, to ensure that point loads do not exceed 10 kPa (1.4 psi). Normally, deformation due to initial weight of freshly placed concrete can be ignored. (Check out Plasti-Fab’s graph of compressive stress versus deformation)
When choosing your compressive fill material a couple of advantages of Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpan compressible fill material are:
1. It is an engineered product designed to meet specific requirements for each application
2. The engineered properties of the product are not affected by the presence of water
3. The product does not depend upon a voided configuration (which may become filled during backfilling) to reduce stress on the structure
4. If required, dimensions can be adjusted easily on the job-site using a fine-toothed hand saw to accommodate job-site obstructions
5. The product does not support the growth of insects or vermin nor does it contain any ozone depleting chemicals (ODC free)
Application, design criteria and design example
GeoSpan is supplied to customers pre-cut to the required dimensions. The standard dimensions are: length 96” (8’), width up to 48” and thickness up to 24”.
Required thickness of GeoSpan is determined by the following information provided by the customer:
1. Self-Weight the structure member temporarily supported
2. Net structural uplift resistance capacity of the structure
3. Maximum GeoSpan compressive stress
4. Maximum anticipated soil swell
*Things to note*
• Maximum compressive stress (U) is equal to the maximum compressive stress anticipated on the long term after compression of the GeoSpan induced by soil swell
• The net structural uplift load (required uplift resistance capacity of the structure) is the maximum GeoSpan compressive stress less the self-weight of the structure
• The GeoSpan final strain (D) is determined from the graph of compressive stress versus deformation provided based upon the maximum GeoSpan compressive stress (U)
• The required thickness (T) of GeoSpan compressible fill material is then calculated based upon maximum anticipated soil swell (E) using the following formula
T=(E X 100) /D
Quality Control testing
Designers are cautioned that GeoSpan compressible fill material utilizes different manufacturing and testing criteria than standard EPS insulation board in order to obtain the engineered properties necessary for this application. The physical properties of GeoSpan compressible fill material are controlled within close tolerances during manufacturing.
There we go, hopefully this helps answer questions about GeoSpan, if not send me your questions and I will get you some answers.
For more on Geotechnical applications, visit plastifab.com
Written by: Temira K
Follow me on Twitter: @dmarketinggirl
It is not uncommon for a commercial project to be completed by a team of experts. Architects, engineers, contractors, building officials, investors, manufacturers, suppliers, project managers, and the list could go on. Everyone makes decisions based on their expertise. With this in mind, it is important to provide not only a wide array of product solutions that can be used throughout the entire project, but clear, concise details and product information that can be communicated to all members of the team.
As part of the team, information at your fingertips is vital. Time frames are a delicate balance and the project lives and dies by building codes. So with that in mind, what would you say if many of the solutions for your project were all in one convenient place, from a vertically integrated company who controls the quality, the manufacturing, while providing you with the full knowledge of the end product & how it will perform? What if there was one company whose product lines fit together so cohesively, that they create the ultimate energy efficient solution while providing product information and unrivaled technical expertise?
In commercial construction there are lots of moving parts and pieces, and while energy efficiency is important, there are multiple other factors to consider that make it different from residential. Tackling a commercial construction or renovation project requires knowledge, industry experience, and good quality products that fit together in a way to accomplish the end result: A high-quality, energy efficient structure that meets the needs of the client and fulfills their vision. It can be very tedious to find all the products and solutions that will make the structure meet the energy efficiency standards such as LEED, Energy Sta Ratings, and other such programs.
Your thinking, what amazing company can this be, right?
The Plasti-Fab brand promises to provide customers with Quality, Service and Expertise. Plasti-Fab and its employees are proud to provide a broad array of not just products, but solutions – solutions that are delivered with the highest level of service and backed by more than 45 years of expertise and knowledge. At Plasti-Fab, we don’t just sell products, we deliver solutions.
Over the course of the next ten weeks, you will learn how Plasti-Fab integrates various product lines including PlastiSpan Insulation, the Advantage ICF System, & the Insulspan Structural Insulated Panel System. We’ll be creating our own sustainable, energy efficient commercial building, beginning with the geotechnical applications, and working our way all the way to the roof. With the various types of expanded polystyrene products available from Plasti-Fab, there is more than one simple solution to some of the energy efficient and structural challenges a commercial building team may encounter. We will cover each of them; effectively arming you with the knowledge to decide for yourself what works best for you.
Join us, as we begin building from the ground up, the Plasti-Fab Commercial Solutions Structure, because Energy Efficiency begins with Plasti-Fab Insulation. Watch as the building is constructed from the ground up and the building comes into focus with each stage of completion.
Next week – Series Part One: GeoSpan for Grade Beam & GeoVoid Compressible fill for concrete floors
Last week we talked about building your above grade walls with the Advantage ICF System® which is great for a new construction project. What do you do when you have an existing home that needs that level of insulation to make it comfortable? That brings us to this week’s insulation solution: Exterior sheathing, also known as continuous insulation. (Note that exterior sheathing can also be used in new construction as well)
People are continually looking at different ways to increase their energy efficiency and decrease their energy costs. So what do they do? Replace windows and doors. Well that’s a great start, but what about all that space between your windows and doors? How much energy do you think is leaving through your walls every day? Parents are always after their kids to shut the door so we don’t let the heat or cool air out but in reality, you could be losing up to 33% of your heating and cooling through your walls each day.
So how do we fix this? Well, this is where PlastiSpan insulation saves the day. It is more cost effective and time effective to increase your R-Value above grade by going from the outside in then from the inside out. Make sure you check your local building code; see what they have for rules, requirements and restrictions. This will save you from problems later on.
*All insulation will be called PlastiSpan from here on, but any of the 3 is the right insulation solution for this application.
A little overview of the 3 types so you can chose the best for your application
- PlastiSpan has the lowest cost/R-Value for rigid insulation
- PlastiSpan HD is also a more cost effective product than other rigid insulations. It gives you a slightly higher R-Value and compressive strength than PlastiSpan too.
- DuroFoam is an ideal product for sheathing because it has been laminated on both sides, one with a green film and one with a silver one
The reflective facer on DuroFoam insulation contains a thin layer of foil embedded within the film. The reflective facer does not increase the nominal R-value of DuroFoam insulation. The green face of DuroFoam insulation should be left exposed to make use of the markings on this face provided for easy cutting of insulation and spacing of interior framing as required.
After you have chosen which type of PlastiSpan insulation you are going to use and have removed all your existing siding, you need to plan out the joints. Apply one of the PlastiSpan insulation products over the exterior of the wood framing. All vertical edges of the PlastiSpan insulation need to be butted tightly together over stud locations for adequate support.
Make sure you are using the correct fasteners. PlastiSpan Insulation must be fastened to framing using fasteners with heads or washers at least ½” diameter where the cladding will be applied directly against the insulation. Fasteners with heads or washers at least 1″ in diameter must be used where an air space will exist between the PlastiSpan insulation and the cladding. (The fasteners are usually a nail with a green washer around it).
A sheathing membrane is not required if all joints between the PlastiSpan insulation and all openings in the wall are taped using a sheathing tape to seal them. Installing exterior cladding; cladding must be attached to the wood framing members so they need to be long enough to penetrate through the PlastiSpan insulation and at least 1″ into the wood framing.
This should finish off the exterior of your home. New doors, new windows and by using PlastiSpan insulation under your sheathing, it will make a huge difference on your energy bills every month, plus increase the comfort inside your home. It’s a win-win situation, and who can resist a win-win?
Visit www.plastifab.com for more information on exterior sheathing.