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  THERMOMASS Offers Energy Efficiency, Durability

In today’s design and construction world, an environmentally responsible building that can be constructed quickly and cost efficiently is a hot commodity. To help meet the demand for such buildings, many designers are turning to concrete sandwich wall designs enhanced with high-tech insulation systems. The THERMOMASS® Building Insulation System is such a connector and insulation system for constructing insulated concrete sandwich walls. The THERMOMASS® system produces a highly energy efficient, durable and safe building that accommodates a designer’s creative goals as well.

The System
The THERMOMASS® system consists of high-strength, low conductivity and chemically resistant connectors that structurally tie two layers of concrete together through pre-drilled, extruded Dow® Styrofoam™ insulation or Dow ISOCAST™ R insulation. The insulations have R-values of 5 and 6.5 per inch of thickness, respectively. The connectors are made from a fiber composite material consisting of continuous glass fibers and vinyl ester polymer. 

“ICC-ES ESR-1746 report verifies that the THERMOMASS® MC/MS Fiber Composite Connector series is code-compliant,” says Paige Green, national sales manager for Composite Technologies Corporation.

Composite Technologies Corporation of Boone, Iowa, manufactures and distributes the THERMOMASS® system. In addition, the company offers complete insulation layout drawings and precision-cut foam panels incorporating openings and edge-to-edge conditions. Known as fabrication, this service eases the installation process for contractors.

“The fabricated system arrives at the site on a pallet, marked according to where each piece should go,” says Green. “The windows and door openings are pre-cut, and contractors don’t have to cut and measure, which saves considerable time on the job.”

Thermomass® proved instrumental in LEED® certification for the Social Sciences Building at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.THERMOMASS® can be used for constructing tilt-up, precast, modular precast and poured-in-place insulated concrete sandwich walls. Since the system was introduced in 1980, it has been used for a wide variety of building types – especially where low energy costs, long-term durability, low maintenance, low fire insurance rates and low construction costs are important. Completed facilities include retail stores and malls, churches, schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, manufacturing and distribution centers, warehouses, coolers and freezers, timber kilns, agricultural buildings, homes and residential developments, and sports facilities. THERMOMASS® offers the contractor the flexibility for a wide variety of finishes, ranging from natural concrete to cast-in brick veneers.

Most recently, THERMOMASS® has been specified extensively for prison facilities constructed with conventional precast, tilt-up and modular precast where low operating costs, fire resistance and durability have been important considerations. And because of its energy efficiency and durability, THERMOMASS® also has been specified often for concrete cooler/freezer-type applications.

Thermomass can accommodate a wide variety of finishes, such as this cast-in brick finish, used at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla.“THERMOMASS® Fiber Composite Connectors are the right product for any concrete sandwich wall application,” Green says. “Applications for the product range from single story to multi-story high rise to architectural insulated cladding panels.” 

Green Benefits 
Green building has gained rapid acceptance in recent years, and many owners now see great value in seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. THERMOMASS® can play an important role for projects seeking LEED® certification, as the system may allow a project to attain up to 21 points in five of the six LEED® sections, in large part because of its energy efficient attributes. To become LEED® certified at the lowest level, the U.S. Green Building Council requires a minimum of 26 points.

In addition to its energy efficiency, the THERMOMASS® system can benefit owners by controlling moisture buildup within an insulated concrete building. By creating a building envelope that is both thermally efficient and moisture resistant, THERMOMASS® helps impede mold growth by eliminating thermal short circuits, air infiltration and condensation on the exterior walls. 

“By offering edge-to-edge insulation, taking advantage of a thermal mass wall, increasing the energy efficiency and eliminating moisture migration in the wall itself, the system offers up many benefits for green building and design,” says Green.

THERMOMASS® green applications led to its specification for the new Social Sciences Building at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. Completed in 2006, the 63,000-square-foot Social Sciences Building is the city’s first building to attain LEED® certification. Preliminary concepts for the building included a structural system of brick on steel studs. However, after designers fully considered the benefits of precast concrete sandwich wall systems and the THERMOMASS® Building Insulation System, they changed plans for the building’s design. 

“School administrators were so pleased with the outcome that they intend to follow similar construction methods and specifications on future buildings to meet LEED® standards,” says Green.

Founded in 1980, Composite Technologies Corporation has manufactured and distributed the THERMOMASS® Building Insulation System for more than 25 years.

Since its introduction to the construction industry, THERMOMASS® has been used in more than 850 million square feet of concrete construction. For more information, visit www.thermomass.com, or call 1-800-232-1748.  

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