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.

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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.”

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It Is the Roofing Industry’s Responsibility to Help Clients Recognize the Importance of Roofing Insulation

In many cases, commercial roofing insulation is the most expensive component of a new roof assembly. Often, building owners do not understand how the insulation selection made today is really a long-term financial decision. The advice a roofing contractor provides to a building owner regarding insulation is critical to helping the building owner make the correct decision from a technical-roofing perspective and business-decision perspective. Many questions we typically hear from prospective low-slope commercial roofing clients revolve around the insulation to be utilized in their new roof system.

  • What is the best type of insulation?
  • How much insulation is most appropriate?
  • What are the advantages of certain types of insulation?

As with everything else in roofing, there is no “one size fits all” insulation solution. There are endless permutations of building use, geography, investment-time horizon, and other factors that can and should influence the amount and type of insulation used in roof systems. However, in most cases, we’ve found that polyisocyanurate insulation is the optimal insulation for a roof system.

Polyisocyanurate insulation provides a substrate for the waterproofing membrane and thermal resistance.

Polyisocyanurate insulation provides a substrate for the waterproofing membrane and thermal resistance.

THE ADVANTAGES OF POLYISOCYANURATE

From a purely technical roofing perspective, polyisocyanurate insulation in a low-slope roof assembly performs two basic functions. First, it provides a substrate for the waterproofing membrane. Second, the polyisocyanurate insulation provides thermal resistance.

There are all sorts of ancillary benefits and purposes for the polyisocyanurate insulation, but the primary function of the insulation is simply to provide the substrate for the roof system and to complete the thermal envelope on the top of the building.

Much like concrete work, or any other kind of construction for that matter, the performance of a roof system is 100 percent correlated to the substrate upon which it is placed. The math is simple: the better the substrate, the better the roof will perform.

The current industry standard for polyisocyanurate insulation comes with an organic facer and a published density of 20 psi. The standard polyisocyanurate insulation is the most widely specified and utilized insulation in the industry by a wide margin.

Standard polyisocyanurate insulation is widely used, frankly, because it works well. Polyisocyanurate provides several attributes that make it the first choice in most commercial roof assemblies.

PHOTOS: BLOOM ROOFING

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PIMA Announces Environmental Product Declarations for Polyiso Roof and Wall Insulations

Consistent with its delivery of energy-efficient and sustainable building insulation solutions, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) announced the receipt of third party-verified ISO-compliant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for polyisocyanurate (polyiso) roof and wall insulations as manufactured by PIMA members across North America. An EPD is an internationally recognized and standardized tool that reports the environmental impacts of products.

These EPDs document that the energy-savings potential of polyiso roof and wall insulation during a typical 60-year building life span is equal to up to 47 times the initial energy required to produce, transport, install, maintain, and eventually remove and dispose of the insulation. In addition to a high return on embodied energy, the EPDs document that polyiso roof and wall insulation offer high unit R-value per inch, zero ozone depletion potential, recycled content, opportunity for reuse and outstanding fire performance.

Beyond providing consistent and comparable environmental impact data, the PIMA polyiso EPDs also present information about additional environmental and energy characteristics, including the high net return on energy provided by polyiso roof and wall insulation.

Specifically, the polyiso EPDs describe the environmental impacts of the combined weighted average production for PIMA member manufacturing locations located across the United States and Canada, based on an established set of product category rules applicable to all types of building thermal insulation. The environmental impacts reported in the PIMA polyiso EPDs are derived from independently verified cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) process, including all critical elements related to the resourcing, production, transport, installation, maintenance, and eventual removal and replacement of polyiso roof and wall insulation.

Using the LCA process, the PIMA polyiso roof and wall insulation products are evaluated on a number of impact categories including global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, eutrophication potential, acidification potential, and smog creation potential, as well as other environmental indicators including primary energy demand, resource depletion, waste to disposal, waste to energy, and water use.

PIMA polyiso roof and wall insulation EPDs also meet the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED v4 Green Building Rating System under Credit MRC-2 Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Environmental Product Declarations as industry-wide or generic declarations that may be valued as one-half of an eligible product for the purposes of credit calculation.

“These third party-verified EPDs for polyiso roof and wall insulation products produced by PIMA manufacturers reflect our industry’s commitment to sustainability and transparency in reporting environmental performance,” says Jared Blum, president of PIMA. “These EPDs will be a valuable tool to provide environmental information to all building and design professionals, and they should be especially helpful in meeting emerging criteria for green building design.”

PIMA Approves Four Testing Labs for QualityMark Certification Program

PIMA announced that four accredited testing labs have been approved for use by participating polyiso insulation manufacturers in its QualityMark program, the only third-party program for the certification of the thermal value of polyiso roof insulation.

“The integrity of this third-party certification program, which has been overseen since its inception by Factory Mutual, is maintained by the quality assurance obtained through the use of these well respected labs, which all have International Accreditation Service accreditation,” says Jared O. Blum, president of PIMA. “Exova, R&D Services, QAI Laboratories and Architectural Testing are all members of national and international accreditation bodies.”

The PIMA QualityMark certification program is a voluntary program that allows polyiso manufacturers to obtain independent, third-party certification for the Long Term Thermal Resistance (LTTR) values of their polyiso insulation products. Polyiso is the only insulation to be certified by this unique program for its LTTR value. The program was developed by PIMA and is administered by FM Global.

To participate in PIMA’s QualityMark certification program, a Class 1 roof is suggested to have a design R-value of 5.7 per inch. PIMA member manufacturers will publish updated R-values for their polyiso products later this year. Polyiso is unique in that the R-value increases with the thickness of the foam, so three inches of polyiso has a higher R-value per inch than 2 inches.

ARMA, ERA and PIMA Research Advanced Roof Systems in Northern Climates

A coalition of trade groups is funding a research project about advanced roofing systems that were installed on an upstate New York correctional facility to evaluate the benefits of thermal insulation and cool roofing in Northern climates.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), Washington, D.C.; EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), Washington; and the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), Bethesda, Md., are sponsoring continued analysis of a reroofing project at the Onondaga County Correctional Facility, Jamesville, N.Y. The Onondaga County Department of Facilities Management identified a need to study building energy use and stormwater runoff from roof systems. Temperature and rain data from the project, which includes vegetative roofing, increased insulation levels and “cool” roofs, will provide information about building performance and roof covering selection.

“ARMA members promote a balanced approach to roofing performance, especially when it comes to saving building energy,” says Reed Hitchcock, ARMA’s executive vice president. “Using a whole-building approach, where roofing reflectivity, insulation levels and other design elements are considered in the decision-making process, will help ensure the right system is selected; this project can only help with that decision.”

When the correctional facility was due for a major reroofing project in 2009, Onondaga County saw a unique opportunity to evaluate the water-retention and energy-efficiency performance for a variety of different roof covering assemblies. The project also offered valuable information that could be used to identify the best options for future reroof projects across the county’s entire building inventory.

The county worked with Ashley-McGraw Architects, Syracuse, N.Y., and CDH Energy, Cazenovia, N.Y., to design and install a field monitoring system to collect data on thermal performance, weather conditions and roof runoff from four buildings at the Jamesville facility. CDH Energy released a report in October 2011 that made recommendations on roof covering selection.

Hugh Henderson, P.E., CDH Energy, remarked the original report laid the groundwork for future roofing projects in Onondaga County. “The use of vegetative roof systems as a stormwater control mechanism was the most important takeaway from the first years of the project,” he explains. “Continuing the project will provide a better evaluation of cool roof and insulation products as part of roof designs in colder climates.”

With the instrumentation still in place, it was a simple decision to continue evaluating the roof coverings over a longer time period to better see how roof coverings interact with weather conditions. Of particular interest is the effect of accumulated snow on roofs that may affect the buildings’ thermal performance.

“Roof insulation is an integral part of the design strategy for a building’s energy-efficiency footprint, and this study will help building owners, contractors and architects assess a roof’s performance from a broader basis and ensure the best energy efficient components are used,” adds Jared Blum, PIMA president.

The Onondaga County reroofing project includes an analysis of the comparison of cool roof technologies, consisting of reflective roof surfaces and high-performing well-insulated roof covering assemblies. “Our members produce reflective and absorptive roof coverings; this study will provide meaningful data that can help designers select the right products for their particular project, regardless of where in the country the roof will be installed,” notes Ellen Thorp, ERA’s associate executive director.

The project is expected to run through 2015.