PANEL ATTACHMENT & THE ENERGY CODE:
HOW TO MEET & EXCEED THE ENERGY CODE WITH EXTERIOR MINERAL FIBER INSULATION
One specific and important part of the energy codes currently being implemented calls for an increased performance requirement on exterior wall assemblies, especially with steel- framed walls. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Standard 90.1, which is the basis of nearly all energy codes, has several paths to thermal compliance. However, it must be noted that the overall goal is to increase the wall assemblies’ performance by making it more effective at doing its job – resisting the transfer of thermal energy so the conditioned space requires less work by the HVAC system to maintain desirable conditions.
The emphasis on increased thermal performance for building envelopes has not only led to increased insulation thickness but, more importantly, how the insulation is effectively installed to maximize the investment. Design and construction professionals have struggled with how to achieve the requirements of the energy codes and have settled upon the use of ‘Z’ furring strips (aka “girts”) for a number of years. Now the industry’s designs, means and methods are changing, and where the once-beloved simple ‘Z-girt’ was acceptable, it is now no longer a viable option.
This white paper explains why Z-girts and other traditional means of exterior wall construction no longer conform to code. The root cause along with some solutions and benefits will be presented.