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For any insulation, the most crucial part is its performance. All across the globe, superinsulation and continuous insulation are considered to be the most important elements of sustainable and net-zero projects. Other such products that have insulating qualities are living walls, green roofs, and rain screen enclosures. The new addition to this list is mineral wool, which is also fire resistant. For any wall insulation to be effective, there are also quite a lot of other factors to be considered.
- Assessment of the need for wall insulation and the process of installation
- Insulation’s permeability has to be evaluated
- Insulation within the wall has to be located properly
- Thermal bridges have to be minimized
- Continuous insulation requirements have to be met
- It has to comply with the NFPA 285
- The insulation should manage the movement of vapor and air leakage.
Choosing the right insulation should not be purely based on the R-value and its availability. But should be finalized on a lot of other factors such as the flow of heat, air, vapor, and water. The envelopes of the older buildings might not be well insulated, so could be quite leaky. This helps in the improved potential for drying compared to the tighter and R Valued envelopes, which does not allow thermal flow. When there is a large amount of water /air or vapor leakage, moisture might just be retained in the envelope and lead to the development of molds, dry rot, and corrosion.
The wall insulation System of Liberty University – A Case Study
A good model of the wall insulation system has been chosen by Liberty University in its plan to rebuild its campus with a $500 million project. It hopes to provide its existing as well as prospective students a renewed and modern style of learning, living, and experience through this revamp. Through this rebuilding project, the university is trying to improve the energy efficiency of the campus along with ensuring that there is comfortable accommodation for all its students. A nine-story hall which was just recently unveiled (five other similar halls are being constructed too) has a high performing and medium-density foam wall insulation procured from Icynene. Building services engineering had made the decision to insulate all the walls of these new accommodations with these high-performance foams in order to facilitate the university’s need to be more energy-efficient. So this was conceptualized right from the beginning of designing and was followed it up.
The council also decided to focus on the feeling of community, in order to make the campus more interactive. So they also had built quite a lot of community /open spaces, for all the resident students to engage, interact, play and study together. They also tried to incorporate an eco-friendly method of construction by using sustainable raw materials along with maximizing the energy efficiency of the building.
This revamp also aimed at the renovation of the existing sixteen champion residence halls which was built in the 1970s. Residential Commons I, the newly opened hall was completed right on schedule at the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year. It was designed as 2 bed and 1 bathroom for each room model and can house up to 1200 residents. This capacity is larger than all the other halls put together. The construction schedule was quite tight with having around 60- 100 contractors a day to build the wall panels, steel framing, floor slabs as well as the building insulation. It was the result of continuous and meticulous hard work of a large crew. The high-performance foam insulation was done in order to ensure an optimal thermal capacity along with betterment in energy management. The wall insulation and air sealing of the residence hall was carried out by a licensed contractor of Icynene, AC &R Insulation of Elkridge Maryland. Then MD-C-200 closed-cell spray foam of Icynene was applied on all the exterior walls.
This application of closed-cell spray foam is done in order to facilitate a higher performance and also as a solution for air barrier for the outer surface of the wall frame. This system is proved to enhance and is compatible with any design of architecture or approach. The material is quite suitable for completely covering all areas which might otherwise drain the energy.