Are you exploring your options for building multi-unit buildings, such as apartments — and wondering about the advantages of using Solid Green Systems’ EPS foam and light-gauge steel wall and roof panels? We’ve compiled the following list of the top 10 questions we’re asked by builders, developers, and architects about using our innovative, high-performance panels in multi-unit construction.
1. What is EPS foam and why is it better for multi-unit structures?
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a thermoplastic, closed-cell, lightweight, rigid-foam plastic. EPS foam is an ideal building material for multi-unit structures thanks to its low thermal conductivity, high compressive strength, and excellent shock absorption properties. Several additional factors make it particularly ideal for multi-unit structures — including the fact that it creates a barrier between the units that reduces noise, fires, moisture, and termites.
2. Are there any limitations in panel construction for multi-unit structures?
None at all. Solid Green Systems’ panels allow utmost flexibility in the design and construction of multi-unit buildings. All structures gain the same infrastructure strength, tight thermal envelopes, and design flexibility.
3. How well do the panels integration with other building materials?
Very easy. Easy integration with other building materials, such as foundation materials and interior and exterior finishes, was designed into the science of the wall and roof panels. As a result, integration with all other building materials could not be more efficient. What’s more, every point of integration is designed to retain the thermal power of the tight building envelope — ensuring no breaches that reduce the energy-saving potential of the units.
4. What is the quality the finished walls?
They are as straight and strong any other building material available today, including wood. Our EPS foam provides the rigid dimensional stability and compressive strength necessary to withstand the normal load of a second floor and roof. Also, the resilience of EPS foam insulation provides reasonable absorption of building movement without transferring stress to the outer skins at the joints. According to the EPS Industry Alliance, the most important mechanical property of EPS insulation and building products is its resistance to compressive stresses.
5. What HVAC unit size is required to meet Net Zero energy goals?
One of the advantages of Net Zero building design is that you can cool a building with a smaller HVAC unit — and cool it better. For example, in a 7,100-square-foot home we installed three 16-SEER HVAC systems (a total of nine tons), which is significantly less than most estate homes. In our multi-unit project in Eagle Ford Foundation, Texas, we installed x size units in the x-square-foot apartment units*. This savings is due to the tight and thermal resistant building envelope, which retains the cool air and keeps out the heat better than other building materials. When testing our panels, we found that when temperatures outside drop to 28 degrees, the inside temperature remained around 67 degrees with no heating system running. When outside temperatures reached 100 degrees or more, the inside temperature remained in the high 70s to low 80s with no cooling system running. This is a result of installing the correct installation and managing the mechanical ventilation appropriately.
6. How hard is wiring and plumbing between multiple units?
It’s extremely easy thanks to the innovative design of the wall and roof panels. Each panel includes space at the center of the EPS foam insulation blocks that allow wires and pipes to be easily dropped in and connected. This feature was specifically planned into the design to ensure optimum construction efficiency.
7. How durable are the wall and roof panels in harsh climates?
Not only are our EPS foam and light-gauge steel panels fire, water, and termite resistance, their strength and durability is also an advantage in any climate, including harsh climates with coastal wind and humidity, arid and hot southwestern temperatures, and cool and damp northern climates.
8. What about noise reduction between units?
As mentioned above, sound reduction is one of the qualities of the EPS foam insulation. According to the EPS Industry Alliance, the resistance to airborne sound transmission is not only dependent upon the characteristics of the material placed in the path of the sound waves, but also upon the method of construction of the system. When used in combination with other building materials, rigid EPS foam effectively reduces the transmission of airborne sound through partitioned walls, ceilings, and floors. What’s more, EPS applications are especially beneficial in diminishing noise transmission in multi-unit structures such as hotels, condos, multi-family buildings, theatres, and structures near airports and busy roads.
9. What about water damage issues between units?
This is not an issue thanks to our EPS foam’s water resistant qualities. According to the EPS Industry Alliance, EPS is non-hygroscopic and does not readily absorb moisture. Its closed-cell structure reduces the absorption and/or migration of moisture into the insulation material. A study by the Energy Materials Testing Lab (EMTL) has shown that EPS insulation installed in well-constructed roofs does not absorb appreciable moisture, even under conditions characteristic of prolonged, cold, damp winters. The small amount of moisture absorbed (an average of 0.2% by weight) has little or no effect on the compressive or flexural strength, and the EPS insulation retains between 95% and 97% of its thermal efficiency.
10. What about remodeling with the panels – are there any issues?
Buildings constructed with our EPS form and light-gauge steel panels offer nearly as much remodeling flexibility as traditional building materials. For all standard remodeling goals, such as adding a window, door, or room, the remodeling construction processes is nearly identical to working with traditional materials.
Do these 10 frequently asked questions answer your questions about Solid Green Systems’ wall and roof panels, Net Zero energy, or partnering with Solid Green Companies? If not, send us your questions today. We’ll be happy to answer them.
For more information on Solid Green Structure’s experience with multi-unit structures, check out our latest project.
Posted on 2/2/2015 at 9:12:00 PM