New test data showing that EIFS outperform brick and stucco both in moisture absorption tests and thermal efficiency tests were released recently by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

The multi-year testing program is sponsored by the EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA), which highlighted the new findings--from Phase II of the study--at its annual conference in December.

The ORNL conducted two years of carefully monitored tests involving introducing water into test walls and measuring the rate of water absorption in the humid climate of Charleston, S.C. EIMA Executive Director Steve Klamke, said the ORNL test data indicates EIFS incorporating four-inch polystyrene foam outperforms other cladding choices. At the same time, brick and stucco demonstrated high rates for water and moisture absorption and retention in hot, humid climates. The tests also showed that outboard insulation and vertical notch drainage with EIFS provides a water-resistant barrier that works much better than building wraps. In short, EIFS outperforms other wall system materials under heat and humidity exposure.

During the conference outgoing EIMA President Bill Kasik, CEO of BASF Wall Systems, said the association's submissions to model building codes are due to be released in February. EIMA is seeking full recognition of EIFS in the International Building Code. Kasik stated that EIFS is poised to be at the center of "green building" efforts and reducing carbon emissions. "Exterior insulation and finish systems are the obvious solution to reducing carbon emissions and saving energy. It's what EIFS is designed to do," he said.

Incoming EIMA President David Boivin, CEO of Sto Corp., said EIMA has several key goals for 2008, including: securing ICC code acceptance, launching marketing initiatives aimed at architects, promoting the DOE research on EIFS effectiveness against moisture and heat, improving communications via the EIMA Web site, newsletters and e-mail, and pushing “green” as a key message in 2008.