In an effort to keep an article about thermal detailing at overhead doors exciting (which may prove to be an impossible task) let’s start off with 2 main points:
1. Unless you are completely familiar with ASHRAE 90.1 your overhead doors may not be in compliance with energy requirements.
2. Most (if not all) insulation detailing around overhead doors consists of a thermal bridge which defeats the point of having an insulated door in the first place.
If I haven’t piqued your interest at this point, stop reading. I can assure you that this article is only going to get more technical and boring from here. However if you are concerned with best practices and being ASHRAE compliant, you may want to keep reading.
Let’s start with item #1, why your overhead doors may not be in compliance with energy requirements. You may believe that adhering to ASHRAE requirements is only a matter of using an insulated overhead door when in fact the standard is based on air leakage.
Here is an excerpt from an article that can explain it better than I can: ASHRAE 90.1-2013 requires that air leakage for rolling doors shall be determined in accordance with the National Fenestration Rating Council NFRC 400 guidelines. Doors must be labeled and independently tested to meet a maximum air leakage rate of 0.4 cfm/ft2., which is even more stringent than IECC. Requirements in ASHRAE 90.1-2010 and 2013 are similar. (source: https://continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/course.php?L=510&C=1539)
As contractors and designers that are building “ASHRAE compliant” buildings, the responsibility is placed on us to confirm that the overhead doors we are using on our projects have the documentation to prove that they meet the air leakage requirements and have the thermal resistance required based on the chosen compliance path. Note that air leakage requirements vary depending on whether your doors are glazed or not. For clarification please refer to your project architect or energy modeling consultant.
Moving on to item #2, chances are if you have designed or built an insulated concrete building the detailing around the overhead door has looked something like this:
Let’s reason on this for a moment. Per point #1 we need to ensure that the thermal resistance and air leakage rates are checked for maximum thermal efficiency. However the detailing around an insulated overhead door is incomplete meaning that even with those measures in place a huge thermal bridge is left.
How do we eliminate the thermal bridge? We would need to somehow return the insulation to the interior of the building and mount our thermally rated and non-air leaking overhead door on it. The detail would look something like this:
We call it OHLoc (OH for overhead); it’s the first of its kind thermal break specifically designed to maximize energy efficiency at overhead doors. The fact is that if you are not using OHLoc as part of your insulated concrete assembly you are leaving a large thermal gap in your insulated overhead doors. Keep in mind that cast in place OHLoc comes in 3 pieces, 2 for the jambs and 1 for the header.
Some might question why bother with this detail, why not leave it as it is? If you are going to leave this thermal bridge, it kind of defeats the purpose of having an insulated door. Also, for someone who is designing, building or investing in an insulated concrete building; do you really want your insulated system to be incomplete?
To find out how we can improve energy efficiency with your insulated concrete project, please get in touch. We are passionate about helping to maximize energy efficiency with insulated concrete buildings.
It has been over six months since our last blog update. Since we talked about global warming and changes to building energy policies. We are happy to report that we are still here. We are happy to report that our momentum is building. The thing that makes us most happy is that in an era of global uncertainty and in an industry plagued by a self-proclaimed lack of innovation, contractors and designers are listening.
We see this in the inquiries we are receiving. 6 months ago we were addressing an issue that it seemed like no one had heard of. This has quickly been replaced with a widely accepted viewpoint that our thermal break is best practice.
It takes courage and insight to adopt new technology and practices before they are considered the norm. Kudos to contractors like Integrated Construction and Ram Construction for recognizing the potential of TigerLoc to provide customers with an even higher caliber of project. Thank you to the designers that have provided support and feedback to continue us moving forward. Designers like the Krahn Group, BC Building Science, CHP Architects, Taylor Kurtz, RDH Engineering, Ted Murray, and Aqua Coast to name a few; these designers have shown us that they are constantly challenging the status quo and seeking ways to improve their projects.
Nothing is ever perfect and there is always room for improvement. As energy codes continue to adapt to address the weaknesses in building performance, and as governments crack down on energy code compliance; the demand for innovative construction practices will only increase. If we haven’t had a chance to meet with you yet or tell you about TigerLoc or some of the other exciting items we are working on, please contact us.
We’d be happy to meet you.
As 2015 draws to a close we reflect on a chaotic and changing world. 2015 has further demonstrated that global warming is a very real problem and it needs to be addressed now. Our human nature of procrastination has led us to the brink of environmental destruction. Even the largest skeptics of our changing eco system are having a hard time arguing that global warming is not happening. As life time residents of the Vancouver area of British Columbia Canada, we have seen one of the driest summers ever. In an area of the world where we are used to rain, we saw very little.
Fortunately there is hope. On a global scale, we are coming to the realization that things need to change and it is starting to happen. We are excited to live in a part of the world that is taking an active role in sustainability.
Thank you to those that are incorporating changes now. Those that are looking to do things the environmentally responsible way; not because they have to but because it is in the best interest of the earth.
We built a company based on improving the life cycle impact of buildings. Our products improve energy performance and they are also practical; we feel that a product is not truly green if it has to be replaced every couple of years. Green products must truly work and last in order to not be replaced by less green products down the road.
The truth of the matter is that using our product TigerLoc is the only way to detail an insulated concrete assembly in a manner where the building envelope performs to its best. While many designers and contractors have been keen to incorporate our system; we still meet those that resist change. Those that would continue to use non-insulated products to line openings, those that ignore the requirement for continuous insulation.
Insulated concrete projects are new and in truth go largely uninspected when it comes to envelope details. Insulated concrete projects seem to be the only type of project that doesn’t require an insulation inspection. We hope a change is coming to this.
In the meantime we appeal to the designers and contractors out there. The change to energy requirements in construction is as real as global warming. Don’t wait for the day when you are forced to build your buildings as efficiently as possible, start that process now. Your client that is paying for a continuous insulation system is not paying for the thermal bridges they are getting in their building when you cut corners. The mechanical consultant is not designing his system to work with a continuous insulation system with multiple thermal bridges.
We’re professionals and we take pride in providing our customers with high quality projects-let’s make energy efficiency one more point of pride.
The JK Thermal Solutions Team
As a father one of the most common scenarios that runs through my head is waking up to a house filled with smoke and flames. Of course in my scenario I am leaping through flames with my daughter protectively tucked in my arms, and my muscles are much more impressive in this daydream than they are in real life.
In reality, I know this is a situation that I am unlikely to face in my life. I live in a townhouse protected by fire sprinklers with (very sensitive) smoke detectors that are interconnected meaning that when 1 goes off, the whole system goes off. So the chances of a fire getting to the point of real growth in our townhouse is minimal.
Of course if a fire did manage to overcome the fire suppression system we are protected by the timely response of the local fire department. As a graduate of the Justice Institute’s Career Fire Fighter program I have a pretty good awareness of what the women and men of the fire department go through to ensure that they are responsive for the public. This group is one of the most dedicated, focused and intelligent groups that I have had the pleasure of spending time with. So in reality, if the day does come where I’m trapped in our townhouse, it will probably be me in the arms of a firefighter being dragged out of the house.
The JK Thermal Solutions team might not be able to put out fires or perform structure fire rescues; but we can help prevent fires. It’s fairly easy to imagine that insulation used in insulated concrete assemblies is flammable and while many insulation products do use an inhibitor to resist the effects of fire on insulation; the resistance to fire from insulation is minimal.
By leaving your insulation exposed at the edge of openings in your concrete assembly, you are leaving a nice easy path for fire to find its way into your building assembly.
TigerLoc provides a fire resistive barrier to your insulation. When TigerLoc is exposed to an open flame, it self-extinguishes 10 seconds after the flame has been removed. At 1” thick, TigerLoc provides valuable time for occupants to escape a building before it spreads to other areas through the insulation layer. JK Thermal Solutions can also offer custom solutions if you require an even more fire resistant version of TigerLoc (contact us to find out more.)
When fire safety is a concern on your project, make sure that you include TigerLoc as a cap to your insulation on all your details. We hope that you don’t ever experience a fire in one of your buildings however if you do we’re happy that we can help slow down the spread of it.
Interesting facts about fire:
· A structure fire is estimated to double in size every 30 seconds
· Fire needs 4 components for survival: oxygen, heat, fuel and a self-sustaining chemical reaction. If you take away any of these components, the fire will die.
· No one knows who invented the fire hydrant because the patent was destroyed in a fire (source: kickassfacts.com)
· Walt Disney World is the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States. The park also launches the fireworks with compressed air instead of gunpowder to reduce fumes and gain better height and timing (source: kickassfacts.com)
Let’s get something straight, this post is not intended to discredit or create bad PR for either wood or the treated wood industry. My dad worked his whole life in the lumber industry, so I owe part of my existence to the support of this industry. My hobbies include woodworking and in particular, building furniture out of reclaimed wood:
So for anyone who would call this a hate post about using lumber in construction, you are completely wrong. I support the use of wood in construction wherever it is practical and makes sense. Unfortunately for the wonderfully versatile building material of wood, using it within insulated concrete assemblies is not appropriate.
Concrete bleeds water as it sets up, to consider using non-treated wood in a contained moist location would be disastrous due to the rotting of the wood that would occur.
It has been widely accepted that treated wood is the only application of wood that should be attempted in an insulated concrete assembly.
In case you are wondering, treated wood in your insulated concrete assembly would look like this:
What’s wrong with treated wood? If you are thinking we are coming up with reasons why treated wood is not acceptable to sell our thermal break (Tigerloc), you have it backwards. We came up with Tigerloc because we refused to use treated wood in our assemblies to begin with. Treated wood, while having some great uses in wet environments does not belong in insulated concrete assemblies. Here’s some reasons why:
1. Treated wood doesn’t have an insulation value. By using treated wood as per the drawing shown above, your insulation layer is no longer continuous. The ASHRAE code referring to insulated concrete assemblies calls for continuous insulation. By allowing treated wood in your assembly, you don’t have a continuous insulation layer anymore so your project is not in compliance with energy codes. Your customers will not be happy to find out that the new insulated concrete building they have completed is not entirely energy compliant.
2. Treated wood eats aluminum. Read up about it here: http://www.woodpreservation.ca/index.php/en/residential-use/faq under the question: is there any material I can't use with treated wood?
The skeptics may say that yes there is an issue, it can be avoided with blue skin or proper spacing; however do you want to take the chance in allowing treated wood in your building and compromising your door and window frames?
3. Oh and treated wood eats fasteners too. Kind of like the last point, you have to be very careful that you use the proper fasteners with treated wood otherwise the treated wood will react chemically with the fasteners and destroy them. Again, you can get around this however do you want to potentially have failed frame installation because of using the wrong screws?
As you can see treated wood, while being a versatile and handy construction product does not belong in insulated concrete assemblies. As a supplementary point, when you can consider using other forms of water resistant materials and woods in your projects as treated wood waste is not recyclable and ends up in a landfill. The landfill is also contaminated from treated wood as the chemicals within treated wood bleed into the ground.
The next time you are designing or building an insulated concrete assembly, take a look at your concrete window and door details. If they are showing the window and door linings as being treated wood, consider changing the detail to Tigerloc. Using Tigerloc over treated wood provides a superior insulated concrete product, true compliance with energy codes and no risk of aluminum or fastener failure over time.
There was a time when green construction was merely the talk of an idealist. I can remember the time before LEED showed up, before green construction practices were truly considered. Once these practices did start showing up in force it was met with skepticism and resistance (our human nature towards change is the subject of another discussion.)
Flash forward to present day and green construction is now sexy. Big time sexy. Everyone wants to say that they are building green, that their products are green. By getting us to build your building or by buying our product, essentially you are saving the earth from the catastrophic results of pollution and global warming. Kind of like how snacks put some random fact about an obscure vitamin on their packaging to convince your subconscious that the sugar laden breakfast cereal is actually somehow good for you.
Don’t get me wrong I am all for green construction practices and yes buying our thermal system lowers the effects of global warming (and did I mention you will be saving the earth?) That being said; I do want to point out that not all green construction practices are created equal. Of course within that argument is the complexities that designers and contractors will have to weigh versus their own moral compass.
For example take a look at our thermal break (Tigerloc) versus lining your window openings with treated wood. By using treated wood you are using the great renewable resource of wood so everyone is happy. Wood is automatically considered green, if you compare it to our thermal break made from a polymer the majority would rule that the treated wood is the more sustainable option. The fact is that in reality treated wood is not recyclable, it end up in a landfill. Treated wood eats aluminum and fasteners so your building assembly will fail sooner than if you used Tigerloc and treated wood doesn’t have the thermal resistance that Tigerloc does so your building will use more energy over its lifetime.
There is also the practicality associated with green construction. I heard a story from one of my clients about a building that was constructed to meet LEED Silver requirements. Months after the construction was complete and the building was open, they had to go around and re-glue all the mirrors in place with a regular PL adhesive as the low VOC product specified wasn’t strong enough to keep the mirrors in place.
As contractors and designers, the power is in our hands to limit the environmental impact of the buildings we are constructing. We need to ask ourselves the question however on what environmental responsibility really is. Is it meeting a prescriptive requirement that gives us just another notch on the belt or is it having the courage to engineer building systems that are truly environmentally compliant?
We challenge you to build and design your buildings to meet green construction standards not just in a prescriptive sense, we challenge you to build and design your buildings in a #practicalgreen sense.
As we have now been on the market for a couple of solid months, it’s probably time to explain what we are up to. What is our structural thermal break that we have named Tigerloc? Tigerloc is a patent pending innovation for use in insulated concrete tilt-up and precast assemblies.
Tigerloc acts as a lining for openings in insulated concrete assemblies. This brings a few specific advantages:
1. Since the insulation is never exposed at openings, no custom cutting of insulation is required to taper it at openings. In a rush on your project? We can ship Tigerloc quickly and with it all insulation can be straight sheets, no tapered cuts.
2. Continuous insulation is guaranteed. The phrase continuous insulation is a buzz word in our industry because it relates to a highly energy efficient building. The trouble is that at details such as overhead doors, this requirement may be ignored and in reality, designers may never know that this has occurred. This is no longer the case. As long as you see openings lined with Tigerloc, you know you have a continuous insulation barrier in your assembly.
3. Panel cracking is reduced. Without Tigerloc, contractors may be tempted to hold their insulation back from openings without breaking the connection between the separate wythes. A lot of details within our industry show some kind of break in the wythes under this application, but in all honesty this seldom happens.
4. Window and door assemblies are meant to tie directly into Tigerloc. This is an advantage as Tigerloc is built from a polymer that accepts regular wood screws with no special prep while providing an R value. No more concrete drilling that is hazardous to health and slow. Further to this, your windows now line up with your insulation which is the way your building assembly was meant to be constructed.
The following makes Tigerloc the ideal choice for lining insulated concrete panel openings:
1. When tested, window assemblies held up to 490 pounds per square foot before the screws tying the window into Tigerloc broke. This means that your window, door frame or screws will shear long before Tigerloc ever fails.
2. Tigerloc has been designed to tie into the structural wythe only. It remains completely independent from the fascia wythe meaning the concrete wythes are completely free to expand and contract thermally independent of each other.
3. The concrete anchors on Tigerloc have been designed to be flexible, allowing for thermal differentials between Tigerloc and concrete.
4. Tigerloc won’t rot when left exposed to the water that make its way through the insulated concrete assembly.
5. Tigerloc’s properties are similar to wood so it can be cut with regular wood working tools, and installed quickly and efficiently.
By changing your insulated concrete assembly from precut tapered to using our assembly we can save your project tens of thousands in project costs.
To summarize, Tigerloc saves you project material costs, speeds up installs of windows and doors, provides better building details and limits the health risk to your workers while guaranteeing a continuous insulation application.
Want to know more? Contact us.
Kamloops, British Columbia Canada is following in the very successful footsteps of what’s currently known as wine country in the Okanagan and they appear to be off to a strong start.
As a company our love is for construction, environment and local grass roots industry, so when we visited the Monte Creek Ranch Winery (built by A&T Project Developments and designed by Ted Murray Architect) (https://www.montecreekranchwinery.com/) we were both impressed and excited to taste wine in a building that truly showcased what tilt-up is capable of. It was neat to experience a piece of local history and local grapes, some of which were unique to the Kamloops climate. If you get a chance to stop by, be sure to check out the 2013 Foch and get the local history behind the “hands up” red.
If you have an interest in construction or architecture this building shows how versatile tilt-up can be as its features break from the square box reputation that tilt-up has so unfairly been stuck with.
We have always been proponents of insulated tilt-ups for breweries, vineyards and distilleries for a variety of reasons.
The concrete construction of insulated tilt-up panels allows for high ceilings which provides the option for future expansion and capacity in these facilities. We learned at a recent tour of Vancouver’s Red Truck Beer Company (http://www.redtruckbeer.com/redtruckbeer/home.asp) that in breweries the capacity is dependent on a high ceiling height, something that insulated tilt is an expert at.
In addition you get concrete walls which are highly resistant to damage from equipment and the inevitable forklift collision while providing a continuous insulation barrier.
When you add the capacity of these buildings to accommodate unique architectural requests including exposed wood beams or other designs to meet modern industrial design requirements; insulated tilt-up is a natural choice.
If you are considering an expansion or new building for your brewery, vineyard or distillery; feel free to get in touch. We would love to get together for a glass of wine or beer and answer any questions you may have on how insulated tilt-up can meet your requirements.
If you have already constructed your facility from insulated tilt-up, please let us know. We’d love to come by for a tour!
A&T Project Development website: http://aandt.ca/
Ted Murray Architect website: www.tedmurrayarchitect.com/
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."-Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein’s famous quote about defining insanity as the act of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is something we are all guilty of from time to time.
As marketing guru, Mark Mitchell (www.seethewhizard.com) puts it, the larger the company the less inclined they seem to be to take risks and try new products and methods. As a smaller business or contractor, that can lead to a competitive edge. That competitive edge can lead to changes and growth within the industry that drive real change.
Without knowing the story of the invention and adaption of the nail gun, I would speculate that at the time the wood framing industry was revolutionized by the nail gun. Any company that was unwilling to get on board with this new piece of technology would be left in the dust if they didn’t switch to this application in a timely matter.
With that thought in mind we would like to share a few novel and inventive products that are being used within the tilt-up industry to make our buildings better, speed up the project schedule and save cost.
Diamond Dowel (http://www.pna-inc.com/products/diamond_dowel/)
This product has been around since 1997 so its use has been well established on the concrete slab on grade market. Designed to allow for the slab to move horizontally in all directions without restraint, it can reduce cracking and issues associated with slab on grade concrete joints. Another advantage to this system is the reduction in labour associated with install this system versus a dowel system, an advantage that is stated to save 50% costs on labour. From what I have heard about the system, the crews that have used it now refuse (or at least are very hesitant) to use any other system.
Connect EZ (http://www.theconnect-ez.com/)
This system allows tilt panels to be connected to the concrete foundation without having to weld the connection. The cost savings associated with not having to pay to have this connection welded is great, not to mention that it eliminates one task for your structural steel team when they get to site and have a list of items to complete that is quite long.
Tigerloc eliminates the need to have your insulation custom cut for installing within your insulated concrete assembly. This innovation reduces lead time associated with getting your insulation package on site as well as lowers cost associated with custom cutting insulation. Other advantages include a quicker and more efficient install of your window and door assemblies and reduction of health hazards associated with drilling into concrete materials.
With advancements in technologies increasing every day, we all have a choice. We can avoid the advancements and practice insanity by repeating our actions and hoping for a different result. Or we can grow our business by looking forward and being on the leading edge of new technology. I vote we grow and strengthen our industry by embracing these new technologies.
Do you have a new construction technology to share? Let us know, we’d love to hear about it!
After months of negotiating, re-pricing, cost savings, development permits, building permits, etc. you finally have the green light to start your project. As your supervisory crew begins setting up the site and the site prep contractors are beginning to mobilize, you have about a million tasks running through your mind. The goal is to keep the project moving ahead as quickly as possible while ensuring that the contracts you are negotiating with sub-contractors are in place in time and detailed enough that you maximize value for the project.
With all of this going on, let's be honest about what starts to slip. It's the specific details...for anyone who relates to this post you know the feeling of speaking to an electrical trade that almost sounds like they are speaking a different language with the technical jargon they are using in the update they are providing. In the back of your mind you just want one assurance; that the building will have power on when it is required on the project schedule.
So the next guilty admission, how many times have you been stung by one of those small details that you paid very little attention to in the heat of the project and are now stuck with trying to resolve?
Focusing in on insulated tilt-up panels; once you have completed your order for the insulation package and ordered your connectors, you're done right? Time to move on to your next task? The next time you start looking at your insulated tilt-up package, consider the following issues with your insulation package:
ASHRAE 90.1 calls for a continuous insulation layer between the 2 concrete faces (wythes.) When you get to your overhead door detail or to other openings, resist the urge to hold your insulation 6" back from openings. The problems associated with this are huge as the 2 concrete wythes need to move independently of each other, if they don't the thinner fascia wythe will tell the story of what was done inside the panel.
Custom Cut Insulation
This is a good option, even if it is expensive; with one exception. For those of you unfamiliar with this option, a piece of insulation is tapered down to 1" thick at openings maintaining full wythe separation and the continuous insulation requirement. The trouble with this installation method is that your thermal line between your window and your insulation is not continuous. Because you have to off set your window frame to tie into solid concrete and not insulation, a thermal bridge is created around window openings. The bottom line is that by using the custom cut insulation application you are paying a large expense for insulation that is going to dictate where you are able to put your window and door frames.
The Tigerloc System
The Tigerloc system can eliminate the issues described above. The cost for our system versus having your insulation custom cut is lower so you can achieve project cost savings by using our system on your next insulated tilt-up project.
Our system is easy and quick to install. It's strong enough to tie window and door frames into yet still maintains an R-value rating so your insulation layer is continuous and your window frame can align with the insulation layer. Our system ties into the structural wythe only, leaving the fascia wythe to move completely independently of the structural wythe, eliminating unsightly panel cracking associated with this issue.
Next time you're awarded an insulated tilt-up project, contact us to take care of the details in your insulated panel assembly. We will work closely with you to make sure the insulation details are taken care of so you can focus on other project details that might sneak up on you.
If you have ever seen a tilt-up project completed or even drove by a building that was being tilted, it is an interesting and exciting process.
The tilt-up process is a relatively simple process, the walls are constructed on the ground and once complete they are tilted into place. Once the roof structure is installed the building is essentially done.
For owners and developers that have had insulated tilt-up buildings constructed in the past, the decision to use this method of construction is obvious. A few of the reasons to select an insulated tilt-up method of construction on your next project are:
Speed of Construction
The insulated tilt-up process is one of the fastest methods of constructing buildings of this size. As mentioned previously, once the walls have been constructed and tilted in place and the roof structure is on the building is essentially finished. For a developer that is interested in getting a building constructed and leased out as soon as possible, they should seriously consider the insulated tilt-up option.
Green Building Practice
The insulated tilt-up method of construction is a great option for a building envelope that allows minimal heating or cooling loss. The fact that the insulation is installed inside of the concrete panel after the first concrete pour means that a continuous insulation layer can be provided, something that is required by ASHRAE 90.1. The continuous insulation layer with almost no thermal bridging means that the heating and cooling within the building is highly efficient.
The insulated concrete tilt-up panel has a concrete layer on both the outside and inside face. The concrete surface is highly resistant to damage and scratches and marks on the wall are relatively easy to repair. For a warehouse application, an insulated tilt-up project will provide the longest lasting application and offer the most mixed use options.
Tilt-up offers a variety of other advantages including cost savings and fire resistance. The practice of tilt-up is rumored to date back as far as Egyptian times and with the advances we are currently seeing in insulated tilt-up technology, the process is not going away soon.
Insulated tilt-up panels for homes is another use of tilt-up panels which is beginning to gain some traction. If you are curious to learn more, I recommend you take a look at www.nzbuilders.com to get an idea of what a home created from insulated tilt-up panels can look like.
The Tigerloc system saves cost on any insulated tilt-up by removing the need to purchase or custom cut insulation to a tapered edge at openings. This can easily result in a $10,000 to $15,000 savings on your next insulated tilt-up project.
For more information or to order our system, please use our contact us page to get in touch.