Building Construction, Codes & Standards, Firefighting

Firefighting and Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems

Issue 1 and Volume 168.

By Ronald R. Spadafora Sustainable design seeks to enhance building performance and reduce the built environment’s destructive impact on the earth. One way is to minimize energy consumption and thus reduce the consumption of nonrenewable resources. Builders commonly use an exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS) to meet this objective. EIFS provides excellent energy efficiency, placing a continuous layer of insulation on the outside surface of the building, thus increasing its R-value (the insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it). The higher the R-value, the better the insulation’s thermal performance and the less energy the structure’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system requires. History EIFS was developed in Europe after World War II to retrofit solid exterior brick and mortar walls and was commonly used in North America in the 1960s. The mid-1970s oil embargo increased demand for energy-efficient wall systems. To meet this goal, EIFS initially incorporated mineral wool,…

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