The Vision: A Showcase of Efficiency
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) showcases the latest in building concepts, materials, innovation and design each year by choosing an existing home and transforming it into The New American Remodel (TNAR). These inspirational homes are unveiled at the International Builders Show and, in 2019, Luxus Design Build, LLC of Henderson, NV was chosen as the contractor to turn a single-story ranch home into a two-story luxury turnkey property.
The 2019 TNAR is designed to achieve Emerald Certification of the National Green Building Standard™ with energy efficient features that can be used in hot climates and built at any price point to achieve similar energy savings.
This year, NAHB is showcasing a Systems-Engineering approach. The concept can make America’s homes more cost effective to build or retrofit, and more energy efficient to live in. With this approach, the energy consumption can be reduced as much as 40% with little-to-no impact on the cost of construction.
Also targeting the EPA Energy Star, DOE Zero Energy Ready and airPLUS home certifications, the 2019 project demonstrates how far we’ve come with sustainable home-building technologies and energy-efficient designs. And what better place to showcase energy efficiency than in the severe desert climate?
Though the 60-year-old foundation and several of the brick walls were preserved, the original home was transformed into an impressive rustic masterpiece of stone, wood and metal. But what really makes the show home a wonder is what is hidden behind the walls and ceilings.
Fi-Foil’s versatile Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation was one of the products specified in the 2019 TNAR thermal envelope as part of the walls and roof assemblies to help the home reach its target HERS Index.
The Implementation: Hybrid Solution to Insulation
Thermal performance plays an important part in TNAR’s ultimate vision: the completely energy efficient home. In the 2019 home, for example, the south-facing walls required a combined R-value of nearly 50 to keep the desert heat at bay.
Fi-Foil’s hybrid insulation is a multi-layered, reflective insulation constructed with premium Low-e surfaces with a tough foil-reinforced scrim. It’s similar to the quality foil we trust to keep our lunch sealed and fresh. A growing number of architects and builders are using the same clean, durable product in the building envelope for better performance and air quality.
Each layer of Low-e surface works to enhance enclosed cavity air space to significantly reduce radiant heat transfer. When used in conjunction with other insulation products, the Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation system helps maintain a tight thermal envelope for overall improved performance.
Beyond the South-facing walls, Luxus planned R-35 for exterior wall assemblies and R-40 for the roof assembly. In the walls, 3.5 inches of open-cell spray foam is used leaving a 2.0- to 2.5-inch air pocket in the cavity. Installing Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation to enclose the cavity added R-8 to the wall systems.
In the roof assembly, 4.5 inches of closed cell spray foam is used with Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation installed facing the attic space as part of the roof and ceiling assemblies enclosing as much as 24 inches of open attic space to contribute a minimum R-8 to these assemblies as well as forming a barrier against radiant heat in all wall and ceiling systems.
Together, the products comprised a complete thermal assembly used in nearly every wall. Contractors were pleased with how easy it was to handle and install the compact 500-square-foot rolls.
Product Selection: A Precise Balance of Products
One of the primary goals of the 2019 TNAR home was to demonstrate affordable high-performance products that can be combined for a building envelope solution that achieves the same performance for less.
Michael Gardner of Studio G Architecture and Luxus chose Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation due to its flexibility and the many different areas it can be used in the envelope; as well as its distinctive capability to help maintain thermal performance (R-values) while reducing the amount of spray foam or fiberglass required on the project. Using less batt or spray foam also means that tighter spaces can deliver the same insulating qualities as larger cavities to help increase the marketable living space.
The product’s Low-e surfaces enhance enclosed air space allowing Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation to boost performance to achieve R-values as high as R-22 in typical assemblies with spray foam; notably, even in tight wall and ceiling cavities.
In addition to Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation, Gardner utilized a continuous exterior insulation system, argon gas-filled windows and doors to limit solar heat gain, and large outdoor overhangs to maximize shade in the direct Nevada sun.
The Results: Increased R-Value Efficiency
“For desert climates,” said Gardner, “our goal is entirely to stop the heat from getting into the home, and what we found was that we could take the best of products from all the multiple manufacturers and create our own assembly.”
This assembly featured Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation in conjunction with other insulating products. The 2019 TNAR goal to provide the highest possible energy-efficient, sustainable home was made possible by Studio G, Luxus, and the combination of insulation materials in the wall and ceiling systems.
“We’re really big fans of Fi-Foil’s product because of its many different uses and ways that it can be incorporated into the envelope insulation system,” explains Drew Smith, TNAR Energy Consultant and COO at Two Trails, Inc. “We’re able to use different products in different applications and get a tight, very efficient thermal envelope.”
With the state-of-the-art insulation combined with the home’s other efficiency features, the 2019 TNAR has a preliminary HERS Index of 58, a significant improvement from the pre-model HERS Index of 135. With the new HERS rating, this home is projected to provide the homeowner with over $1,621 in annual energy savings.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification is well within reach for this sustainable NAHB showcase home and other homes that may be built to similar standards in the future.
Learn how Multi-Layer Reflective Insulation System can help your next project reach its targeted R-value.