PIMA Issues Technical Bulletin on High-Density Polyiso Cover Boards

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) announced the release of a new technical bulletin detailing the advantages of high-density polyiso cover boards. High-density polyiso cover boards are an important component in roof systems, providing a substrate for roofing membranes and protection for underlying insulation.

“PIMA’s new technical bulletin illustrates that high-density polyiso cover boards perform well with less structural loading and improved long-term maintenance when compared to other options,” said Justin Koscher, President of PIMA. “We see broad acceptance of these high-density boards in both new construction and the retrofitting of existing roofs.”

According to the technical bulletin, high-density polyiso cover boards, when compared to other options offer project teams many advantages:

  • Can be shipped with approximately three times more square feet per truck load.
  • Are significantly lighter than alternatives of the same thickness.
  • Require less crane time and are easier to maneuver around the roof which can decrease the
    hoisting, loading and staging costs.
  • Are virtually dust-free during the cutting process, eliminating itchy residue.
  • Can be cut without specialized tools.
  • Can be lifted by a single worker.
  • High-density polyiso cover boards also provide high R-value, superior water and mold resistance while boasting impressive long-term durability and service life, according to the association. Their compressive, flexural and tensile strength provide impact resistance from foot traffic, hail and other extreme weather. These boards also contribute toward meeting or exceeding the newest continuous insulation standards and can qualify buildings that use them for preferred insurance ratings.

    “In terms of both installation and effectiveness over time, high-density polyiso cover boards provide savings and deliver superior results from installation through the life of the roof,” added Koscher.

    The new technical bulletin with full details can be found along with other information about polyiso products on PIMA’s website.

    Koscher Is Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association’s New President

    The Arlington, Va.-based Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) has announced Justin Koscher has assumed presidency of the association as of Jan. 1. Koscher succeeds Jared Blum who served as PIMA president from 1990 to 2016.

    “With an accomplished record of leadership in insulation and energy-efficient construction coalitions, Justin brings broad experience in the roofing and polyurethanes industries, as well as strong advocacy and association management experience,” says Helene Pierce, chairman of PIMA’s board of directors. “He is widely respected within our industry and will be a tireless advocate for polyisocyanurate insulation and sustainable building practices in the years to come.”

    Koscher previously was director of Polyurethanes Markets at the Washington, D.C.-based American Chemistry Council’s Center for Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) and held a leadership role on the Sustainability Committee, which represents the U.S. polyurethanes industry on building codes and standards, blowing agents, fire safety and environmental issues. He also directed CPI’s Spray Foam Coalition, an organization of spray polyurethane foam systems houses, raw material suppliers and equipment manufacturers.

    “Sustainable building insulation is the key to driving energy efficiency in the modern era,” Koscher says. “PIMA has been at the forefront of advancing this value proposition for decades and I look forward to continuing to position polyiso’s significant role in reducing the built infrastructure’s impact on the environment and enhancing the performance of the buildings we live and work in each day.”

    Prior to joining CPI in 2014, Koscher served as vice president of Public Policy at the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Washington. There, he worked with trade association members to develop policy priorities from local through federal levels, including building codes, product standards and renewable-energy legislation.

    To learn more, visit Polyiso.org.

    The Roofing Industry Seeks to Protect Buildings from Storms

    I used to love storms. I was never one to cower at the sound of thunder. I often found storms a good excuse to turn off the TV and lights, open the blinds and marvel at the sheer power of nature. If you read my January/February “Raise the Roof”, however, you know I have had a love-hate relationship with rain since moving in with my husband (we married in August 2015). I found myself awake on rainy nights, counting the seconds between pumps of our sump
    pump. If less than 20 seconds passed, I knew the basement was flooding and dreaded the morning’s cleanup. (I work from home and my office is in the basement.)

    In March, a waterproofing company spent two days installing its patented drain- age system and a new sump pump inside our basement. We monitored the system throughout the month of April, which was rainy, to ensure there were no leaks in the system. It worked like a charm! During April, we also hired contractors to create my new home office, a guestroom and walk-in closet within the basement. So far, we have new windows, lighting and insulation; the contractors are finishing up drywall and ceiling installation as I type.

    I know what it’s like when you can’t trust your house to weather a storm. There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless, and seeing your belongings destroyed is gut-wrenching. As the nation braces against another summer of intense weather, it’s comforting to know the construction industry—specifically roofing—is researching and innovating to protect people’s homes and businesses from Mother Nature’s wrath.

    For example, in “Business Sense”, Jared O. Blum, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association, writes about initiatives to improve the resiliency of our building stock and infrastructure through codes, standards and proactive design.

    The Clinton, Ohio-based Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc., better known as RICOWI, recently sent 30 researchers to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex after an April hailstorm. According to Joan Cook, RICOWI’s executive director, the 10 teams of three inspected 3 million square feet of low and steep-slope roofing during the investigation. The teams’ findings will result in a report to help the industry better understand what causes roofs to perform or fail in severe hail events, leading to overall improvements in roof system durability. Learn how RICOWI mobilizes and studies roofs in “Special Report”.

    There are many other stories within this issue about roof systems working along- side other building components to create durable, sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. Humans have a long history of innovating and evolving to meet the needs of their current situation. I have no doubt that in my lifetime our buildings will be built to withstand nearly any catastrophic event. Meanwhile, I’m happy to report we received 4 1/2 inches of rain in three hours last week and our basement remained bone dry. Thanks to innovations in basement waterproofing, I may start to enjoy storms just a bit again!

    PIMA, IMT and CEIR Release I-Codes Design Guide

    The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), and the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing have released the Roof and Wall Thermal Design Guide: Applying the Prescriptive Insulation Standards of the 2015 I-Codes.

    The non-proprietary I-Codes Design Guide provides information regarding the prescriptive thermal value tables in the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code and the references to these tables in the 2015 International Green Construction Code. The guide translates this information into simple and straightforward roof and wall R-value tables covering the most common forms of commercial opaque roof and wall construction.

    “Since 1994, the International Codes have served as models for all state and local building codes in the U.S.,” says Jared Blum, president PIMA. “Codes are key for ensuring we meet today’s rigorous standards. In a guide such as this one, it is easier to interpret and implement the codes as they apply to roof and wall insulation.”

    The 2015 edition of the International Codes (I-Codes) includes several advances to increase energy efficiency in commercial buildings. First, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) includes new and higher standards for several components in the building envelope, most notably for roofs with insulation above deck. In addition, these enhanced standards are further increased in the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), which is intended to serve as an overall or “above the code” standard for sustainable buildings.

    “The building thermal envelope—which may go unchanged for decades—is one of the most critical aspects of achieving long-term energy efficiency in commercial buildings,” says Cliff Majersik, executive director, IMT. “In a time where local building departments have increasingly strained resources, the Roof and Wall Thermal Design Guide is a simple resource that code officials can use to explain the commercial roof and wall requirements of the 2015 IECC. State adoption of the 2015 IECC is increasing quickly, making this guide an essential resource for educating local code officials and industry.”

    The guide is intended to provide specific information regarding commercial wall and roof energy requirements of the 2015 I-Codes. In order to make this guide effective, individuals should identify the type of roof for wall assembly they current have, identify their current climate zone, and check the building’s occupancy.

    PIMA Names Chairman of the Organization

    During its annual meeting, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) announced that Helene Pierce, vice president of Technical Services, Codes and Industry Relations at GAF, assumed the chairmanship of the organization on Jan. 1, 2016. She succeeds Jim Whitton of Hunter Panels, who has served as the PIMA chairman for the last two years.

    “Helene has extensive and deep technical understanding of the polyiso insulation industry and has served the association on numerous task groups and initiatives—she is the perfect choice to lead PIMA,” says Jared Blum, PIMA president. “We look forward to her leadership as the building, architecture and specifying communities continues to embrace and reiterate the value of building thermal performance.”

    Pierce has spent more than 34 years in the roofing industry and has been very active in many of the industry’s organizations. She received the ASTM Award of Merit and title of Fellow from ASTM Committee D08, the James Q. McCawley award from the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and the title of Fellow of the Institute from the Roof Consultants Institute.

    Among the many groups in which she has been active include ARMA; ASTM International; CSI; the RCI Foundation; CEIR; SPRI; RCMA; PIMA; and the CRRC. Pierce has also authored and presented numerous papers for the roofing industry and is a frequent contributor to industry publications.

    “PIMA represents North America’s insulation of choice and its diverse membership provides a truly collaborative environment for all of our members,” says Pierce. “Given the importance of energy efficiency in the building envelope, the demand for continuous high-performance insulation for the roof and walls continues to grow. As the voice for polyiso insulation used in the building envelope and through its many initiatives in education, building codes and standards, technical resources, and QualityMark, PIMA’s support of the polyiso industry will certainly continue to grow.”

    Attended by more than 100 members—polyiso manufacturers and suppliers to the industry—PIMA’s two-day annual meeting featured an educational session, which presented perspectives on energy infrastructure issues impacting the industry. During the annual meeting, members heard from:

    • Lisa Jacobson, president, Business Counsel for Sustainable Energy
    • Brad Markell, executive director, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council
    • Amy L. Duvall, senior director, Federal Affairs, American Chemistry Council
    • Sarah Brozena, senior director Regulatory and Technical Affairs, American Chemistry Council

    “Energy efficiency remains a critical issue as illustrated during the recent COP21 meeting, where there was a palpable shift in the attitude of the business community towards energy-efficiency practices and policies,” adds Blum. “Our industry stands ready to support any agreement stemming from the COP21 meeting and our role as a trade association is to ensure our members have access to the resources they need.”

    SOPREMA Joins the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association

    The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association announced that SOPREMA has joined the group as a manufacturing member.

    “The addition of SOPREMA to the polyiso industry and the PIMA family reflects the continuing growth of polyiso as North America’s insulation product of choice,” says Jared Blum, president PIMA. “SOPREMA’s construction industry leadership role is well acknowledged, and the PIMA Board of Directors looks forward to the active involvement of the company.”

    SOPREMA joins PIMA’s six manufacturing members: Atlas Roofing, Firestone Building Products, GAF, Hunter Panels, Johns Manville and Rmax.

    SOPREMA is an international manufacturer specializing in the development and production of innovative products for waterproofing, insulation, soundproofing and vegetated solutions for the roofing, building envelope and civil engineering sectors. Founded in 1908 in Strasbourg, France, SOPREMA now operates in more than 90 countries.

    With its first polyisocyanurate insulation plant in North America, SOPREMA will expand its presence in the construction market by offering complete roofing solutions to its clients, while managing all production phases.

    “SOPREMA is proud to join PIMA and contribute to the energy performance of buildings and the reduction of greenhouse gases as a manufacturer of high-performance insulation boards,” says Richard Voyer, executive vice president and CEO of SOPREMA North America.

    PIMA Report: Effect of Roof Traffic and Moisture on Roof Insulations

    The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) released a research report suggesting that low-slope roofs using popular single-ply roof coverings may not be suitable for the use of mineral fiber (also known as mineral wool or rock wool) board insulation when subject to roof traffic and/or moisture accumulation.

    The PIMA report titled “The Effect of Roof Traffic and Moisture on Roof Insulations,” was developed as a follow-up to previous research studies from Europe that evaluated the performance of mineral fiber subjected to a combination of simulated roof traffic and increased roof moisture content. The study suggests that moisture vapor may significantly reduce the compressive strength of mineral fiber insulation leading to a significant increase in overall roofing failures.

    The research report concludes that:

    • After exposure to 95 percent humidity for 48 hours, single-ply roofing assemblies installed over two different types of rigid mineral fiber board insulation lost over 85 percent of their initial compressive strength when tested for only five cycles of a walkability test, recently developed in Europe to evaluate the effects of roof traffic on roofing systems.
    • Based on this observed loss of compressive strength, all of the roofing assemblies tested were rated as “Not Suitable” for roof traffic using a classification protocol developed in conjunction with the walkability test.
    • The reduction in walkability observed in this testing was slightly mitigated by increasing the thickness of the single-ply roof covering, but the benefit appeared to be minimal.

    “It is well-known that moisture may collect inside roofing systems either from internal condensation or from external leaks,” says Jared Blum, president of PIMA. “As a consequence, the presence of water vapor inside roofing assemblies may be relatively commonplace. The data from this study, combined with prior work done in Europe, suggest that moisture vapor may significantly reduce the compressive strength of mineral fiber insulation. As a consequence, great care should be taken when using mineral fiber insulation if any significant level of roof traffic and/or internal moisture is anticipated.”

    A copy of the research report, “The Effect of Roof Traffic and Moisture on Roof Insulations” is available for download at PIMA’s website and is also available from PIMA members.

    Learning and Trying New Things

    The start of a new school year is always an exciting time. As I see my friends post photos on Facebook of their kids’ first days of school, I am reminded of the excitement I felt way back when. I loved wearing a new outfit, seeing friends I hadn’t seen in awhile and anticipating all the fun—and learning—in the year ahead. In a way, I get to recreate those feelings each time I put together a new issue of Roofing. I’m continually learning about the industry and this issue is no different.

    For example, in “From the Hutchinson Files”, Thomas W. Hutchinson, AIA, FRCI, RRC, CSI, RRP, principal of Hutchinson Design Group, Barrington, Ill., and a Roofing editorial advisor, explains the virtues of cover boards. As he points out in his article, the use of cover boards can now be considered a good roofing practice.

    Meanwhile, Jared O. Blum, president of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association, Bethesda, Md., explains a new white paper about polyisocyanurate insulation R-values in “Cool Roofing”. He states the R-value of polyiso roof insulation is reduced at some point at lower temperatures, but within any reasonable temperature range associated with typical building operating conditions in almost any climate in North America the difference appears to be very small.

    In addition, we here at Roofing like to learn and try new things. As a result, this issue is interactive! Please download the free Layar Augmented Reality app, which was designed to bring print to life. Then hover over page 45 in the print edition with your smartphone or tablet to view a video about Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s Indoor Practice Facility in Blacksburg, Va., which features almost 1,000 squares of 238-foot-long, curved, standing-seam metal panels. We’re really excited about this new capability and would love to know what you think.

    White Paper Identifies Appropriate Mean Reference Temperature Ranges and R-values of Polyiso Roof Insulation within this Range

    A number of recent articles have explored the relationship between temperature and R-value with an emphasis on the apparent reduction in R-value demonstrated by polyisocyanurate (or polyiso) roof insulation at cold temperatures. The science behind this apparent R-value decrease is relatively simple: All polyiso foam contains a blowing agent, which is a major component of the insulation performance provided by the polyiso foam. As temperatures decrease, all blowing agents will start to condense, and at some point this will result in a marginally reduced R-value. The point at which this occurs will vary to some extent for different polyiso foam products.

    a mean reference temperature of 40 F is based on the average between a hot-side temperature of 60 F and a cold-side temperature of 20 F.

    A mean reference temperature of 40 F is based on the average between a hot-side temperature of 60 F and a cold-side temperature of 20 F.

    Because of this phenomenon, building researchers have attempted to determine whether the nominal R-value of polyiso insulation should be reduced in colder climates. Because of the obvious relationship between temperature and blowing-agent condensation, this certainly is a reasonable area of inquiry. However, before determining nominal R-value for polyiso in colder climates, it is critical to establish the appropriate temperature at which R-value testing should be conducted.

    TO DETERMINE the appropriate temperature for R-value testing of polyiso, it is important to review how R-value is tested and measured. Figure 1 provides a simplified illustration of a “hot box” apparatus used to test and measure the R-value of almost all thermal-insulating materials. The insulation sample is placed within the box, and a temperature differential is maintained on opposing sides of the box. To generate accurate R-value information, the temperature differential between the opposing sides of the box must be relatively large—typically no less than 40 F according to current ASTM standards. The results of this type of test are then reported based on the average between these two temperature extremes, which is referred to as mean reference temperature. As shown in Figure 1, a mean reference temperature of 40 F is based on the average between a hot-side temperature of 60 F and a cold-side temperature of 20 F. In a similar manner, a mean reference temperature of 20 F is based on a hot-side temperature of 40 F and a cold-side temperature of 0 F.

    NOW THAT we’ve had an opportunity to discuss the details of R-value testing, let’s apply the principles of the laboratory to the real-world situation of an actual building. Just like our laboratory hot box, buildings also have warm and cold sides. In cold climates, the warm side is located on the interior and the cold side is located on the exterior. If we assume that the interior is being heated to 68 F during the winter, what outdoor temperature will be required to obtain a mean reference temperature of 40 F or 20 F? Figure 2 provides a schematic analysis of the appropriate mean reference temperature.

    As illustrated in Figure 2, the necessary outdoor temperature needed to attain a 40 F mean reference temperature would be 12 F while an outdoor temperature as low as -28 F would be needed to obtain a 20 F mean reference temperature. And herein lies a glaring problem with many of the articles published so far about the relationship between temperature and R-value. Although a 20 F or 40 F “reference temperature” may sound reasonable for measuring R-value, average real-world conditions required to obtain this reference temperature are only available in the most extreme cold climates in the world. With the exception of the northernmost parts of Canada and the Arctic, few locations experience an average winter temperature lower than 20 F.

    schematic analysis of the appropriate mean reference temperature.

    A Schematic analysis of the appropriate mean reference temperature.

    To help illustrate the reality of average winter temperature in North America, a recent white paper published by the Bethesda, Md.-based Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), “Thermal Resistance and Temperature: A Report for Building Design Professionals”, which is available at Polyiso.org, identifies these average winter temperatures by climate zone using information from NOAA Historical Climatology studies. As shown in Table 1, page 2, the PIMA white paper identifies that actual average winter temperature varies from a low of 22 F in the coldest North American climate zone (ASHRAE Zone 7) to a high of 71 F in the warmest climate zone (ASHRAE Zone 1).

    In addition to identifying a realistic winter outdoor average temperature for all major North American climate zones, Table 1 also identifies the appropriate mean reference temperature for each zone when a 68 F indoor design temperature is assumed. Rather than being as low as 40 F or even 20 F as sometimes inferred in previous articles, this mean winter reference temperature varies from a low of no less than 45 F in the coldest climate zone to above 50 F in the middle climate zones in North America.

    Pages: 1 2

    EPDs Provide a New Level of Environmental Transparency to Building Products

    The sustainability movement has impacted the building industry in many ways. Today’s architects, owners and occupants have much greater expectations for the environmental performance of the buildings they design, operate and dwell in. Part of this expectation is focused on the components that make up the building. For example, did the wood come from responsibly harvested forests? Is the metal made of recycled material? Do the paint and interior finishes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

    An Environmental Product Declaration, or EPD, is developed by applying a Product Category Rule, or PCR. PCRs are developed, maintained and warehoused by program operators. Examples of program operators include ASTM, CSA, ICC-ES, Environdec and UL Environment. Program operators also verify that an EPD and its associated life-cycle assessment conform with ISO 14025 and the ISO 14040 series. PCR development is commonly a collaborative effort between industry associations, manufacturers, and/or others.

    An EPD is developed by applying a Product Category Rule. PCRs are developed, maintained and warehoused by program operators. Examples of program operators include ASTM, CSA, ICC-ES, Environdec and UL Environment. Program operators also verify that an EPD and its associated life-cycle assessment conform with ISO 14025 and the ISO 14040 series. PCR development is commonly a collaborative effort between industry associations, manufacturers, and/or others. IMAGE: Quantis US

    Information technology has encouraged and facilitated this increased demand for in-depth data about building components and systems. People have become accustomed to being able to gather exhaustive information about the products they buy through extensive labeling or online research.

    In response to the growing demand for environmental product information, building component manufacturers have begun rolling out environmental product declarations, or EPDs.

    It’s a term now commonly heard, but what are they? EPDs are often spoken in the same breath as things like LCA (life-cycle assessment), PCRs (product category rules) and many other TLAs (three-letter acronyms). The fact is they are all related and are part of an ongoing effort to provide as much transparency as possible about what goes into the products that go in and on a building.

    “An EPD is a specific document that informs the reader about the environmental performance of a product,” explains Sarah Mandlebaum, life-cycle analyst with Quantis US, the Boston-based branch of the global sustainability consulting firm Quantis. “It balances the need for credible and thorough information with the need to make such information reasonably understandable. The information provided in the document is based on a life-cycle assessment, or LCA, of the product, which documents the environmental impacts of that product from ‘cradle to grave.’ This includes impacts from material production, manufacturing, transportation, use and disposal of the product. An EPD is simply a standardized way of communicating the outcomes of such an assessment.”

    The concept of product LCAs has been around for some time and has often been looked at as a way of determining the sustainability of a particular product by establishing the full scope of its environmental footprint. The basic idea is to closely catalog everything that goes into a product throughout its entire life. That means the energy, raw materials, and emissions associated with sourcing its materials, manufacturing it, transporting it, installing it and, ultimately, removing and disposing of it. In the end, an LCA results in a dizzying amount of data that can be difficult to translate or put in any context. EPDs are one way to help provide context and help put LCA data to use.

    “The summary of environmental impact data in the form of an EPD can be analogous to a nutrition label on food,” says Scott Kriner, LEED AP, technical director of the Metal Construction Association (MCA), Chicago. “There is plenty of information on the label, but the information itself is meaningless unless one is focused on one area. An LCA determines the water, energy and waste involved in the extraction of raw materials, the manufacturing process, the transportation to a job site and the reclamation of waste at the end of the useful life of a product. With that data in hand, the various environmental impact categories can be determined and an EPD can be developed to summarize the environmental impact information.”

    Pages: 1 2 3