Canadian Building Insulation-The Business Case for Green

This is how to save big moneyI frequently encounter customers who believe that the purchase price of the building is the most important element in purchasing a steel building. They’ll carefully weigh the differences between costs on cladding finish quality, and the impact of bay spacing on their foundation costs, then they add up all the plusses and minuses on a spreadsheet, and this is the extent of their financial analysis. 

As any financial analyst can tell you, the present value of the operating costs of a Steel building can have a far bigger impact on the financial health of your business. When it comes to steel buildings in Canada, the most significant operating expense is generally heating and energy costs. To put it into perspective, the annual heating bill for a steel building located in Montreal, or Winnipeg will be about twice the interest cost of financing the original building purchase.

There are many ways you can reduce the heating costs of your new building, for a small investment. The first Tip I can give you is really straightforward. Put the maximum amount of metal building insulation in the roof and walls as you can. Your roof and wall insulation must incorporate a 100% vapour barrier seal, it should deal with heat convection, and with radiant heat gain/loss.

Typical and basic building insulation packages are for 6 inch laminated fibreglass in the roof, and 4 inch laminate in the walls. This provides you with R20 in the roof, and R13.8 in the walls. Not a bad start, but believe me, you can reduce your operating costs by a huge amount by going the extra yard. Here’s a few tips for you:

1) Often neglected, but the biggest bang for your buck is to put a thermal block between the perlins and the roof/wall cladding. Extensive research has demonstrated that approximately 30% of conductive heat loss in a Canadian steel building can be eliminated by putting a thermal block on the outer face of the Girts and perlins, where the fibreglass blanket is usually compressed between roof and perlin. Where i have costed this option, it normally represents less than a 1 year payback to the building owner. There is a lot to discuss about insulation, Green buildings, and the business case for going Green, so stay tuned for regular tips on this topic.

Author: Matthew Day, Building Consultant. 1-866-822-4022 EXT: 351

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