Innovative Roofing Insulation Appeals to Owners, Architects

Because Rich-E-Board roofing insulation is light and easy to install, it lowers the cost of delivery and handling and can reduce labor costs by more than half.

Because Rich-E-Board roofing insulation is light and easy to install, it lowers the cost of delivery and handling and can reduce labor costs by more than half.

It’s exceptionally thin and easy to install. It delivers an R-value of 50 to commercial, industrial and government buildings. Now, Rich-E-Board, the innovative new roofing insulation, is enjoying a groundswell of interest from building
owners, contractors and architects seeking to drive down construction costs and boost energy efficiency.

Rich-E-Board recently received a patent for its proprietary Vacuum Insulated Panel—two polymeric foam cover boards that sandwich the panel—and the adhesive ribbons that bind the boards and panel together. This ultra-thin insulation offers a certified alternative to a huge commercial roofing market—billions of square feet in construction every year—challenged with
meeting stringent standards for energy efficiency.

While conventional insulation requires a thickness of 15 inches to reach an R-value of 50, Rich-E-Board achieves the same result at just 1.5 inches thick. Rich-E-Board can be installed on most roof deck types, including ballasted roof systems, and can support all conventional low-slope roof systems.

Rich-E-Board’s design delivers significant advantages:

  • Lower energy bills: Achieving an R-value of 50 can cut a building’s heating and cooling costs by 8 to 10 percent, according to the GSA.
  • Simpler retrofits: Rich-E-Board enables retrofitted structures to achieve required R-values in less time, with fewer materials, and without costly and destructive building modifications.
  • Reduced construction costs: Because Rich-E-Board is light and easy to install, it lowers the cost of delivery and handling and can reduce labor costs by more than half.
  • Design flexibility: With its slim profile— especially compared with multi-layer insulation— Rich-E-Board saves space, expanding the design options for architects.

Rich-E-Board is also fireproof and water and mold resistant, notes Joanne Collins, president and CEO of R-50 Systems, maker of Rich-EBoard. “Our team focused on creating a game-changing alternative,” Collins says. “Rich-E-Board fills a significant
void in the marketplace by providing an insulation system capable of meeting today’s tougher energy standards.”

Success in the Field

Rich-E-Board has made a successful transition from the drawing board to the marketplace. Owners and architects have taken advantage of the insulation’s slim profile and high R-value on several building projects.

At a government building in Chicago, for example, owners chose to install 3,600 square-feet of Rich-E-Board as part of a roof retrofit aimed at lowering lifetime energy costs. Rich-E-Board’s slim profile also cut construction costs by more than $20,000 by streamlining design and installation.

At the Cohen Courthouse in Camden, N.J., Rich-E-Board was selected for the roof retrofit, eliminating the need for expensive building modifications that would have been required for conventional insulation. The decision lowered the project cost by $200,000.

Earlier this year, Rich-E-Board was awarded a patent for its design. More recently, the insulation earned its first LEED 4 designation.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in Rich-E-Board as the roofing market learns more about the benefits it brings to the commercial roofing,” Collins says. “This product fills a significant void by providing an insulation system capable
of meeting today’s tougher energy standards.”

Collins notes that, in addition to the $5 billion annual market for commercial roofing, Rich-E-Board can be used in walls and other building applications. Rich-E-Board is 99 percent recyclable and made entirely in the U.S.

PHOTOS: R-50 SYSTEMS

From Screw-down to Standing-seam Metal Roofing

Time to reroof an old screw-down metal roof? Are you thinking about upgrading to a new standing-seam roof? Great idea! Today’s new standing-seam roofs are truly state-of-the-art; available in many profiles and finishes; and, more importantly, address many of the issues encountered in older generation screw-down metal roofs.

Caulk, roof coating and tar patches were used to cover leaking fasteners and panel end laps.

Caulk, roof coating and tar patches were used to cover leaking fasteners and panel end laps.

The screw-down metal roof and wall panel has been the backbone of the metal building industry since its inception and still represents a significant part of the total market. Screw-down panels are lightweight, durable, inexpensive and strong enough to span up to 5 feet between structural supports. Screw-down roofs and walls also have a wonderful physical property: The panels can and frequently are used as “diaphragm bracing,” securely holding the building’s roof purlins and wall girts in position, adding rigidity to the structure in much the same way drywall strengthens stud walls. This is a huge material—and labor—cost saver!

The early systems were not without problems, however; much of the technology we take for granted today did not exist in the early years of pre-engineered buildings. Many roofs during the late ’60s thru early ’80s were installed using 10-year life fasteners to secure a 30-plus-year life roof.

The fastener issue seems crazy today given the numerous inexpensive, long-life, weathertight, self-drilling screws available. Back when I started in the metal building industry, you could have the newly developed “self-drilling” cadmium fasteners or “self-tapping” stainless. Self-tapping meant you had to pre-drill a hole in the panel and purlin to install it—a much slower and more expensive process. Most of us used the less expensive but (unknown to us at the time) fairly short-life cadmium-coated fasteners and often never provided the option of a stainless upgrade to our customers.

Another shortcoming with screw-down roof panels is that, generally speaking, screw-down panels on metal buildings should be a maximum length of about 80 feet. Longer roof-panel runs frequently suffered rips or slots in the metal caused by expansion and contraction. Metal panels expand and contract at a rate of about 1 inch per 100 feet of panel run. This is normally absorbed by the back and forth rolling of the roof purlin and some panel bowing, but after 80 feet or so they can no longer absorb the movement resulting in trauma to the panels and trim. I have frequently seen this 80-foot limit exceeded.

a rusted fastener has caused the surrounding metal to corrode and fail.

A rusted fastener has caused the surrounding
metal to corrode and fail.

Standing-seam panels eliminate both of these shortcomings. The panels are attached to “sliding clips”. These clips are screwed to the purlins and seamed into the side laps of the panels securing them and thus the panels have very few, if any, exposed fasteners. The clips maintain a solid connection with the structure of the building while still allowing the panels, which can be 150 feet or longer, to move with expansion and contraction forces without damage.

This is great news for the building owner: You’re providing a more watertight roof, few if any penetrations, and expansion and contraction ability. It does come with a catch, however; standing-seam panels, because they move, do not provide diaphragm strength. The building’s roof purlins must have significantly more bridging and bracing to keep them in their correct and upright position. This is automatically taken care of in new building design but when it comes time to reroof an older building, removing the existing screw-down roof could remove the diaphragm bracing it once provided and make the building structurally unsound. Yes, that’s bad!

PHOTOS: ROOF HUGGER INC.

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