Written by: Temira K.
That’s right I said it. Winter is coming. And if you believe the forecast for this coming season we are in for a doozy. Last winter I actually ran out of Propane because my house could not hold on to the heat in the extremely cold and lengthy winter we had. With the prices of propane and natural gas being what they are, I prefer to be proactive than pay extra when I find icicles on the walls. So this year I have decided to add a layer of insulation to my home, not into the walls, but create a nice warm blanket on the outside.
No, my house will not look like it has hit the snooze button and crawled back under the covers. When I say I am adding the equivalent of a blanket, I mean with a continuous layer of insulation, referred to as exterior sheathing insulation. This creates an insulation barrier that does not have those pesky air gaps that allow cold in and heat out. I work for a company that manufactures insulation. I see the numbers; I know what it can do, and how much it costs to make it happen. It is just not possible for me to sit through another winter like last year, knowing how much I can improve the comfort in my home with EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation.
Exterior insulation projects kind of need to be viewed like putting up your Christmas lights. The weather might seem nice now, and you may think, I’ve got plenty of time to get this done, but no one wants to be hanging Christmas lights (or placing sheathing insulation) in the snow. So now is the time.
This installation project is not difficult, and we have a step by step guide all set up to help complete it successfully. My first task is to determine what R-value I would like to gain with the addition of the insulation. There is a R3.75 per inch insulation, known as PlastiSpan®, and then there is a higher R-value product PlastiSpan HD, that gives me 4.04 R per inch. Because I don’t plan to change my windows, the higher the R-value per inch the better because I don’t want to add too much thickness to the outside of my home at this stage.
We also have a laminated product called DuroFoam, which is incredibly durable, (hence the name) can bend and flex without breaking and makes for a cleaner and much more seamless insulation project overall. I am choosing to go with this product, in a higher R-value, known as the DuroFoam Plus line. So I have chosen to add ¾ inch DuroFoam Plus Exterior Sheathing to my house.
I won’t walk you through all the steps that I will be taking to complete the project, but if you would like to see for yourself what they are, you can check them out here. http://www.plastifab.com/solutions/residential/exterior-insulating-sheathing.html
Our author wrote this blog with the focus on wedding cakes; however with Halloween right around the corner, it seemed like a great idea to use for trick-or-treaters as well. If you want to hand out candy this year, and are looking for something more creative than candy in a bowl, the cake idea below is a great way to display candy for your visitors too!
Written by Melissa Carruthers
So for the last 10 years I have been making cakes for friends and family. Four tier wedding cakes, bear cakes, Thomas the train cakes and anything else I could think of. Last year I was the Maid of Honor in a wedding in Halifax. Living in Calgary made the possibility of making the wedding cake impossible so I had to come up with another idea. I thought about a Plasti-Span Grooms cake. I know the groom is a huge candy fan and the wedding colors were orange and white. So why not take PlastiSpan EPS and create the cake.
I had 4 tiers made in circles ranging from 14” in diameter to 4”. I painted them all orange, (This process took 3 coats of paint and my desk and hands were orange… but it was worth it!) Make sure you use acrylic paint and use a foam brush. It saves time.
After the cake was painted I shopped for candy… Specifically orange candy. (Except for the baseball chew because they are a favorite). I didn’t know how difficult shopping for orange candy only would be, but it was a task all in itself!
So with the “Cake” made, I was off to Halifax. When I arrived 8 plus hours of flying later, my luggage did not. So somewhere in Canada was my Bridesmaid dress and this 4 tier candy wedding cake. I could not have been more thankful that the cake was durable, made of foam, and would assemble easily when I put it together. Finally everything arrived and the bride to be and I put it together. It was a great way to keep her calm the day before the wedding.
Step by Step…
- I pre-painted all the tiers so we wouldn’t need to do this in a hotel room
- We glued all the tiers together making sure each one was mostly dry before we attached the next one so they didn’t move around. (here is where we made a first timer mistake. We should have made the holes for the lollipops first instead of putting them in last)
- Starting with the largest candy we mapped out a plan. We knew how much and what candy was needed for each level.
- Now we started pinning all the candy to the bottom tier, then slowly to the top. We made sure we had extra candy just in case we ran out or got hungry while we were building it.
- Now for the lollipops. We stuck them in the top of the cake and voila it was complete.
Needless to say, even with delays, and luggage problems, both the bride and groom were in love with it and the Groom was shocked to see it.
Again a few things to take into consideration:
- Have lots of white craft glue to stick the tiers together
- Make sure the candy you buy can be molded around the cake (some candy didn’t get used because it wouldn’t curve)
- Bring lots of pins, some candy took 4 to hold in place
- Have a bowl beside the cake when you serve it (if you let people eat it). This way there is something for them to put the pins in
- Take lots of pictures
- Put the holes in the top tier first if you are using lollipops
The Warren County Solid Waste Management District has awarded Plasti-Fab’s Lebanon Ohio operation as the recipient of the Go Green Warren County Contest for 2014. In this contest the Lebanon Manufacturing Facility was given the award for their recycling efforts, as the amount of waste their plant delivered to the landfill was considerably lower than other facilities in the area.
Word of the reduced landfill deliveries made its way to county, making them aware of the continued efforts at the Lebanon, Ohio facility to maintain their sustainable standing and recycling models. The Plasti-Fab team at the facility was recognized at a breakfast held in honor of their continuing efforts.
PFB® manufactures innovative, high-quality insulating building products and technologies that, when used as components of a building envelope, enable residential and commercial structures to be highly energy-efficient. We are experts in geotechnical application of our products.
At PFB Corporation, we are concerned with the future of the planet and the effects that modern life styles may be having on climate change. PFB Corporation is committed to conducting its operations responsibly, mindful of the economic, environmental and social impacts of its operations. It is our policy to measure improvements in reducing the impact of our activities on the basis of economic, environmental and social factors and to report improvements to our stakeholders on an annual basis.
At PFB’s Plasti-Fab plant in Lebanon, Ohio we re-use our EPS material by putting it back into the block to produce more insulation products. When this is not possible, we thermally compact the EPS and sell to recyclers. The recyclers in turn manufacture plastic products such as picture frames, wall/ceiling moldings and other consumer products. Our sustainability practices avoid EPS going to the landfill.
To learn more about PFB’s Sustainability practices, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com
Award-winning Habitat for Humanity project built with Advantage ICF System® supports sustainability
More than 1 million Canadians are confronted by a choice between paying a utility bill and covering the rent. It is a shocking statistic used by Habitat for Humanity to stress the importance of sustainable housing, and it is a call to action for the organization’s donors and volunteers who join together to build affordable homes. Partnering families contrib-ute 500 hours of sweat equity as their down payments and then enjoy no-interest mortgages.
When Plasti-Fab contributed to a Habitat projects in Owen Sound & Wiarton, Ontario, it was helping to address the challenges in more ways than one.
It seemed like a natural fit for Plasti-Fab. “Habitat for Humanity does great work in terms of what they represent to the community,” says Richard Baumgartner, Plasti-Fab Sales Manager for Ontario and Quebec.
In these ten semi-detached homes, they also save cash each month by enjoying the ongoing energy savings that come with the use of insulating concrete forms (ICF). Each 1,000-square-foot living area is enclosed by six-inch Advantage ICF building block walls and a PlastiSpan Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation that was incorporated into a radiant floor heating system.
Utility bills now average only $46 per month in the middle of winter, and that includes the cost to heat water for the radiant heating system.
In contrast, Ontario’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure says that it can cost $1,210 per year – more than $100 per month — to heat a home of similar size with a natural gas furnace.
These benefits reflect the true meaning of “sustainability,” says Alan MacDon-ald, director of construction at Habitat for Humanity – Grey Bruce. “We look at the sustainability of the family to be able to maintain their home, and that includes operating costs.”
But, the advantages didn’t end there. Many of the members of the Habitat volunteer crew members have never worked on a construction project in their lives. These lightweight forms are much easier to handle than traditional framing materials, and they fit together with ease.
“Putting the blocks together is easy,” MacDonald agrees. “Everybody has fun doing it.”
It sure made a difference to the homeowners and impressed the judges who bestowed the 2009 Rio Tinto Alcan Sustainable Homes Programme Award, that recognizes the most successful Habitat builds in the country. When awarding the $60,000 prize, judges cited the use of ICF as “one of the most energy-efficient building strategies available in homebuilding today”.
“It was an incredible shot in the arm,” MacDonald said of the honor, “and a large portion of that submission was based on the ICF.”
Learn More about the Advantage ICF System® at http://www.advantageicf.com
An artist unleashes his creativity to design a three-story addition with Insulspan® SIPs
Artist Brian McKelvey is nationally recognized for his realistic caricatures of college town pubs and cityscapes. When it came time to create a custom art studio on his lakefront property in St. Johns, Michigan, McKelvey dreamt big—designing a three-story studio and library connected to his home with an elevated causeway.
“I wanted to create a space you didn’t want to leave,” he said. “I designed it down to the inch. It’s been a dream in progress.”
McKelvey selected the Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System for the walls and roof of his new 3,262 sq. ft. studio. Finalizing the plans brought McKelvey into a collaborative relationship with Insulspan’s in-house design department.
Insulspan SIPs also provided McKelvey with superior energy efficiency and comfort due to their solid core of rigid foam insulation. Without the gaps in insulation, thermal bridging, or air leakage common in traditional wood framing, homes built with Insulspan SIPs maintain a more consistent temperature and a comfortable
“Being high up, I wanted to have the warmest environment,” said McKelvey. “Insulspan SIPs gave us faster construction and a sturdier feel to the structure.”
“In the future I will build again, and I will use Insulspan,” he added.
“It was a pleasure to work with such a creative homeowner and help him realize his vision using the Insulspan SIP System,” said Insulspan Blissfield Sales Manager Aaron Hinde. “Now he has a studio that is comfortable, quiet, and energy efficient.”
Find out more about Insulspan SIPs at http://www.insulspan.com
Nineteenth Century barn gets new life as the timber frame for an energy-efficient home
For a pair of ambitious Michigan homeowners, the conception of their new, cutting-edge home began not on drafting board, but 80 miles away from their building site with an abandoned 1840s barn outside of Fowlerville, Michigan. The aging structure was built using a traditional mortise and tenon timber frame that they felt was worth preserving as the skeleton for their new, energy-efficient home.
Crews meticulously disassembled the barn and erected the salvaged 34-foot-tall timber frame at the new building site. But the antique timbers required additional structural support and a full building enclosure system to complete the home.
The homeowners chose the Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System for the walls and roof of their new 2,500 sq. ft. home. Prefabricated Insulspan SIPs provided a structural building enclosure and insulation in a single step, saving labor and reducing construction costs.
“Insulspan SIPs were cheaper than the competition and we needed to have structural support for these old timbers,” said the homeowner.
Another major consideration for the homeowners was energy efficiency. With a core of continuous rigid insulation, Insulspan SIPs deliver better effective thermal resistance because they avoid thermal bridging at wood studs. Adding to the efficiency of the SIP building enclosure, the homeowners installed a ground-coupled heat exchanger that draws pre-tempered incoming air through a tube buried in the ground, taking advantage of the consistent temperature of the soil.
“We liked the long term benefits of the Insulspan SIPs,” said the homeowner. “We expect to have very low heating and cooling costs with the geothermal system and the building envelope.”
“It was a privilege to be involved in the construction of a unique home like this,” said Aaron Hinde, Insulspan Blissfield Sales Manager. “The addition of Insulspan SIPs really helped reduce heating costs, making this beautiful home more sustainable and affordable to live in.”
Learn more about Insulspan SIPs at www.insulspan.com
“Proof Not Promises” is a category of GE’s customer awards that are given to companies based on successfully implementing efficiency improvements; recognizing them for significantly improving industrial operational performance.
The award was presented to Plasti-Fab after Dan Mooney, Chief Steam Engineer of the Polymer Plant spent time working with GE in the reduction of utilizing the “Steamate” condensate corrosion inhibitor for the Moulding Plant Boiler by more than 75%.
With the help of a GE representative, Polymer Plant staff and employees, a chemical addition reduction initiative targeted at steam condensate return piping amine in the Crossfield Block Moulding Plant was completed. Amines are added to the steam systems to coat iron piping and prevent corrosion. Amines are the most expensive component of a boiler water treatment system.
The goal of this initiative was to add controls in order to optimize the addition to the required points which reduces the consumption to the minimum amount required in achieving piping protection.
Not only has the Amine consumption in the system reduced dramatically over the 3 month evaluation period without sacrifice of the piping protection, it also produced annual operational savings in the range to $9,000 to $10,000.
At Plasti-Fab, we continue to be devoted to the sustainability of our products, practice and production. Our supply chain links are with major corporations that support the Responsible Care® Initiative. At the interface with them, our operating practices are subject to audit by them. Which helps the industry to operate safely, profitably and with care for future generations.
To learn more about Plasti-Fab’s sustainability initiative, visit http://www.pfbsustainability.com