For the first time in more than 19 years, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) announced an increase to the minimum required prescriptive R-value (resistance to heat flow) for roof and wall insulation levels in Standard 90.1-the national model energy code for commercial buildings. The above-deck roof insulation requirements will increase 33 percent from R-15 to R-20 in every climate zone in the U.S. Similar increases were approved for walls.

“ASHRAE is to be commended for establishing a new benchmark for building energy efficiency,” said Jared Blum, President of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA). “According to the Department of Energy commercial buildings and homes account for 40 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. The increased values establish a new national standard minimum against which all codes can be compared and pave the way for buildings with improved efficiency and decreased carbon footprint.”

The increased roof and wall insulation values apply to all commercial and high-rise residential buildings covered by Standard 90.1. These changes now become a part of the newest edition of the Standard-90.1-2007. Visit for more information.


Insulated Metal Panels (IMP) lead in energy conservation, recyclables, and sustainability, according to the Metal Construction Association (MCA), an organization dedicated to expanding the use of metal in construction.

According to MCA Technical Director Scott Kriner, “Today’s architects and building designers continue to look for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of new commercial structures. The use of IMPs for the building envelope will make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to lower energy consumption, less solid waste stream, and efficient water usage.”

Proponents for IMPs cite the following benefits: The panels reduce jobsite waste, can be used for the entirety of an exterior wall or roof system, and they can be used for multi-component solutions. Additionally, they are reportedly effective in any climate, have high recyclable content, contribute to better HVAC performance, and may contribute to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits.


Three major trends are pushing green building to the forefront of the construction industry’s consciousness, according to FMI, a management consulting and investment banking firm in Raleigh, N.C. 1) an unprecedented level of government initiatives; 2) heightened residential demand for green construction; and 3) improvements in sustainable materials.

According to FMI’s 2008 U.S. Construction Overview, construction industry stakeholders are increasingly recognizing green building capabilities as being a necessary part of a firm’s best practices and no longer a niche sector.

“Green building will continue to grow. It is not a question of whether your firm should invest in understanding the green sustainable trend and how to produce sustainable projects, it’s how much should you invest and how fast,” said Rick Dutmer, consulting group manager for FMI. “Developing a strategy now to assess the capabilities of your firm, and create actions to take advantage of the sustainable opportunities is fundamental.”