4 Must-Haves for an Energy-Efficient Building Envelope

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Creating an energy-efficient building not only helps decrease utility costs but also makes for a better building that occupants will find more comfortable to be in and more cost-effective in the long run.

There are many different ways to achieve a more energy-efficient building envelope. EPS (Expanded Polystyrene Insulation) products combine several key features to ensure the building is running at maximum efficiency with little environmental footprint.

EPS insulation offers three of four features key to an energy efficient building envelope, including continuous insulation, an airtight barrier component and a weather-resistant barrier.

1. Continuous Insulation

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Continuous insulation has been conclusively proven as the most effective way to insulate building envelopes for energy savings. Continuous insulation ensures the structure’s insulation is performing at the specified R-value and not reduced due to air leaks and gaps.

Rather than just insulating wall cavities between the studs, continuous insulation provides an uninterrupted thermal barrier over the entire wall. This effectively eliminates thermal bridging — which occurs “when a relatively small area of a wall, floor or roof loses much more heat than the surrounding area” — through studs and structural steel. This leads to energy, money and fuel savings for the building owner.

EPS rigid insulation provides unmatched quality and stable long-term R-value that does not degrade over time.

2. An Airtight Building Envelope

Airtight construction guarantees there are no unexpected gaps in the building envelope that could lead to air leakage, cold draughts and heat loss.

An integrated film facer on an EPS insulation panel can act as an air barrier component, saving time and labor on applying any additional air barrier components to the insulation.

The integrated facer reduces HVAC air changes, minimizes cooling and heat loss and cuts down on HVAC usage overall, making the structure more energy efficient. It also reduces moisture condensation issues within the building and maintains exceptional interior air quality by preventing pollutants from leaking in. Lower energy bills also lead to long-term savings and a great return on investment.

3. Weather Resistance Barriers

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A structure with no moisture control can easily begin to grow mold and rot away in a very short period of time. That is why weather-resistant barriers are vital to the health and longevity of a building.

Weather-resistant barriers (WRB) provide protection to the building envelope from rain, water vapor and bulk water. These barriers keep water and moisture from penetrating the building.

The closed-cell nature of EPS insulation reduces absorption and migration of moisture, which helps keep water vapor from seeping into the structure.

In addition, the same facer on certain laminated insulation products that act as an air barrier component also protects the building from moisture seeping into the wall cavities. This facer prevents rotting, mold, condensation and other pollutants from deteriorating the structure.

Weather-resistant barriers are also resistant to harsh elements and weather conditions. The integrated facer of laminated insulation products ensures the structure is sealed and protected. And when a weather-resistant barrier facer is added to EPS insulation panels, there is no need for a separate WRB product to be added after insulation is installed, saving time, money and labor on the project.

4. Proper HVAC Unit(s)

50% of all energy used in homes comes from HVAC. And nothing affects a structure’s HVAC efficiency more than the insulation in the building envelope and the ductwork.

Using continuous insulation products will prevent air leakage and keep the building interior at optimal and comfortable conditions for longer, resulting in less usage of the HVAC system.

An energy-efficient HVAC system also needs adequate ductwork to operate properly and effectively. Insulation in attics is not often thought about or overlooked, but it could be the key to keeping a building running efficiently. By adding continuous insulation to the attic to make a structure airtight, the interior climate will remain comfortable and consistent even with a smaller, less used HVAC system.

By making wise decisions when it comes to insulation products and installation, a building can run more efficiently and effectively with a smaller HVAC unit, cutting down significantly on costs and energy usage.

Atlas EPS Insulation

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Atlas Molded Products is the nation’s largest EPS manufacturer, and our EPS insulation solutions are primarily focused on and developed for commercial structures. Most of the EPS products from Atlas provide continuous insulation for maximum efficiency.

Atlas ThermalStar® Rigid Insulation products provide stable R-value over the entire span of its life. They are manufactured under an industry-leading quality control program and rigorously tested to meet or exceed strict industry standards.

ThermalStar Laminated Wall Insulation has a facer pre-attached to the insulation boards to provide airtightness and weather resistance barrier properties.

The insulating cells of the EPS insulation boards simply contain air — no other harsh chemicals or additives are used. EPS insulation has low global warming potential (GWP) and zero ozone depletion potential (ODP). It can also be recycled at the end of its life, making Atlas ThermalStar products an environmentally-friendly insulation solution.

With the nation’s largest manufacturing footprint and the capability to both block and shape mold, Atlas Molded Products can provide high-quality EPS solutions coast-to-coast, whatever the project demands.

ThermalStar Wall Insulation boards come in various sizes, thicknesses and R-values to provide a perfect fit for any project. ThermalStar can even be cut and shaped to fit virtually any space or design, guaranteeing an uninterrupted thermal barrier.

Atlas can provide your space with energy-efficient materials while still offering great quality products. And our service-oriented sales and technical experts are readily available to discuss design, customization and testing services needed to meet your specifications.

Interested in learning more about how Atlas can help you create an energy-efficient building envelope? Reach out to one of our team members today. Whatever your project’s unique needs are, we are sure to find a solution.