Fi-Foil and 2018’s The New American Remodel Vacay Under the Florida Sun
Products used: Fi-Foil HY-Fi® Hybrid Insulation System & M-Shield Reflective Insulation
Project Location: Orlando, FL
The Vision: A Cool Modern Classic
The New American Remodel (TNAR), part of the annual National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) International Builders’ Show, features the latest innovations in energy efficiency and building concepts. The project also promotes advancements in thermal insulation, state-of-the-art HVAC technologies, tankless water heating and Energy-Star®-rated lighting and appliances.
With a goal of transforming an 80-year-old, Mediterranean-style residence into a model of style and efficiency, the NAHB 2018 TNAR home project turned to Orlando-based custom build and remodel firm of Farina & Sons, Inc. and Nasrallah Architectural Group’s principal architect Mark Nasrallah.
The two-story traditional home, located in a picturesque neighborhood near Orlando’s downtown historic district, exemplifies the classic architectural style common to 1930s Florida. The original structural elements remain intact, while the elegance and functionality of the home have been greatly improved.
Farina and Nasrallah’s finished building, meeting with NAHB’s 2018 TNAR high standards, qualifies for the National Green Building Standard’s highest Emerald rating. This prestigious certification signifies maximum achievement in energy, water, and resource efficiency, lot development, operation, maintenance and indoor air quality.
In addition to the Emerald rating, the NAHB’s 2018 TNAR Residential Energy Service Network’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score decreased from 125 to 46. One point in HERS rating represents a 1% increase or decrease in the use of energy.
In order to maximize energy efficiency and indoor air quality, the 2018 TNAR project specified Fi-Foil’s HY-Fi® hybrid and M-Shield, both high-performance reflective insulation. The HY-Fi was chosen to increase thermal performance by utilizing air cavities within the frame wall assemblies allowing for greater flexibility for any last-minute wiring changes while delivering even better performance using less spray foam. M-Shield was used on the masonry block wall systems to increase thermal performance and efficiency while reducing the chance of mold growth to improve overall air quality in the 2018 TNAR home.
Implementation: Clean, Cool Air with Fi-Foil
Hot climates with high levels of humidity present an insulation challenge for builders and contractors. Every added R-value point is crucial to delivering a properly insulated home that can reduce some of the load on the building’s HVAC system. And in Florida, a higher performing building envelope means less energy consumed by air conditioning which often leads to lower cooling costs and greater comfort.
The HY-Fi hybrid insulation used in the wall systems of the 2018 TNAR home effectively improved the performance of these assemblies with layers of tough, clean aluminum foil and foil-reinforced fiberglass scrim. The product’s low-e surfaces allowed for enhanced R-values over spray foam alone.
When multilayered HY-Fi hybrid is used together with spray foam as part of the building’s insulation systems, it helps maintain a tight thermal envelope designed to also reduce radiant heat transfer for even better performance—in a sense turbo-charging the insulation system.
An increasing number of residential builders are using hybrid systems like the one demonstrated in the 2018 TNAR home. A HY-Fi hybrid with spray foam allows greater flexibility, less waste and callbacks and an opportunity to boost the spray foam performance by up to 10% for the same cost. The HY-Fi increases system performance by design with reflective layers that enhance air within the enclosed cavities. When used in conjunction with batt or foam insulation, especially in open attic space, HY-Fi can add a minimum of R-7 to wall and ceiling systems.
In addition to HY-Fi, Fi-Foil’s M-Shield paperless reflective insulation was integrated into the 2018 TNAR walls to improve thermal performance and also reduce the incidence of mold growth for a stronger building envelope and better indoor air quality over time. The composition of M-Shield with a synthetic facing resists the growth of harmful mold, mildew and bacteria by depriving these of a food source.
Product Selection: Maximizing Thermal Performance & Indoor Air Quality
In the Sunshine State, energy efficiency and thermal insulation run hand in hand. The Florida sun is intense, especially in the summer months. To keep living spaces comfortable and maximize the effectiveness of air conditioning systems, builders in the South are increasingly insulating against heat transfer from both conduction and radiation.
The 2018 TNAR project’s primary purpose was to demonstrate that affordable high-performance insulation products can achieve comparable energy efficiency to more expensive products.
Farina & Sons, Mark Nasrallah, and the rest of the NAHB’s 2018 TNAR team chose Fi-Foil’s flexible HY-Fi hybrid insulation in order to maintain thermal performance while reducing the amount of spray foam and fiberglass insulation they would typically need to achieve their desired R-value.
Additionally, Fi-Foil’s M-Shield high-performance reflective insulation was chosen to reduce the chance for mold growth behind the walls (a major area of concern for homes built in areas of high humidity, like Florida). M-Shield’s material and design eliminated the food source for mold and mildew within the wall systems, thereby improving the air quality of the indoor living environment.
The Results: Better Efficiency, Better Function
Fi-Foil’s products, together with other remodel components, contribute to a symphony of 21st-century high-efficiency building technology. Design of the 2018 TNAR also opened up the living area inside the home adding a spacious great room attached to a modern kitchen, redesigned the interior of the home, and added new energy-efficient windows.
The formerly low-tech house was also given a high-tech revamp involving structured wiring, a CCTV system, automated lights, motorized shades and screens outdoors and a high-performance Wi-Fi network.
Drew Smith of Two Trails, Inc., the performance verifier and green building consultant on the 2018 TNAR project, worked with NAHB’s Leading Suppliers Council to identify the some of the best products and systems available to achieve the highest efficiency ratings possible, including the HERS and Emerald ratings. In addition, the 2018 TNAR also met the requirements for the EPA’s Energy Star® and Indoor airPlus programs, and the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.
Photo from NAHB - The New American Remodel