This Thermal Imaging Photo of a home shows excessive heat loss (red, orange and yellow areas) and preventable heat loss (green areas). Our Intelligent Walls system can correct these heat loss problems, and prevent many others.
Why You Need Intelligent Walls
Q-What is "Intelligent Wall?"
A- "Intelligent Wall" is simply a thin exterior wall with Styrofoam® sheathing that out-performs thick walls and reduces the chances of wall condensation.
Q- How can a thin wall save more on energy than a thick wall?
A- Coverage. OSB wood-sheathing walls leave the frame (25% of the wall) uninsulated. You would not knowingly buy a 1600 square foot home that left a 40' wall uninsulated, but that's what a wood sheathed house offers.
Q- Doesn't extra thickness make up for the uninsulated frame?
A- It could, but it's difficult because the first amount of insulation does the most good. In fact, an insulation R value of 39 (the higher the R rating the better) would be needed between the studs to make up for the heat loss of not having Styrofoam® sheathing with an R 5 covering the entire wall. An R value of 44 would be needed to make up for the heat loss of not having Styrofoam® sheathing with an R 7.5 covering the entire wall. Thick wood sheathed homes also offer a host of other problems including condensation, mold and rot.
This photo shows mold in the insulation of a house sheathed with OSB and housewrap. Condensation occurred inside of the wall because the OSB allowed the wall cavity to cool and the moisture vapor to condense.
Q- How can a heavily insulated thick wall be a problem?
A- Any cold surface can act as a dehumidifier. Wood sheathing like OSB is susceptible to moisture and rot. The thicker the wall and the cavity insulation the colder the sheathing is and the possibility that moisture can condense in the walls resulting in mold, mildew or rot.
Q- Why haven't we heard of this before?
A- Wood sheathing has been used for years. Fortunately, we do not build then like we used to. Our homes are more energy efficient. Tighter homes with high efficiency furnaces reduce air exchange and keep more moisture trapped inside. In older homes drafts of cold, dry, outside air kept wood sheathed walls and interiors of homes dry. We even had to use dehumidifiers. We cannot afford that today.
Q- Are there any independent studies to back up what you are saying?
A- Plenty. Three of the best are, USDA Forest Products Laboratory Research Paper FPL 433, National Bureau of Standards Report DE-79-3 No. 3, and Northwest Wall Moisture Study by George A Tsongas PhD, PE. More are coming all the time.
Q- "Intelligent Walls" with Styrofoam® sheathing are drier and warmer than thick wood sheathed walls. Is there anything else?
A- Thin "Intelligent Walls" with Styrofoam® insulation are not only extremely energy efficient and make the house last longer, they reduce wall-bowing, increase comfort levels and affordability and preserve our forests. Using 2x4's rather that 2x6's in the exterior walls allow more homes to be built from fewer trees. Styrofoam® insulation may be blue, but it's really a "green" product.
This photo shows the same house after it was remodeled with Intelligent Walls. Notice the dramatic change.
Q- Is the Intelligent Wall strong enough compared to a wall sheathed in OSB?
A- Yes, and in certain ways it is stronger. The Intelligent Wall is engineered to have the right amount of OSB wall sheathing underneath the Stryofoam®. Our method of installation is the key: our wall sheathing is one continous piece starting at the sill plate bolted to the foundation. It is installed to bridge the weakest points in the construction of your home - from the foundation, over exposed basement walls, floor framing, and to the strongest part of the first floor walls. In comparison, a wall sheathed in OSB usually has no overlapping connection from the walls, to the floor, and to the foundation. Our wall system is designed - Intelligently!