Dryvit: What is Stucco/EIFS

We all want to make our environment cleaner, and healthier. There is an extraordinary exterior wall system that has a tiny environmental foot print, with a huge economic benefit. Outsulation system from Dryvit – as green as it gets.

Outsulation systems are highly energy efficient wall claddings, used on 350,000 buildings worldwide. Outsulation systems can be attached to an approved substrate, or installed over an air and water barrier, as shown here. Components include expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation board, fiberglass reinforced base coat, and a textured acrylic finish. A variety of finished textures, styles and colors are available, and can replicate stucco, brick, limestone or granite. The expanded polystyrene can be shaped to create architectural details such as reveals, cornice work and quoins. the design options with Dryvit outsulation systems are virtually endless.

Most importantly, Dryvit Outsulation systems are simply – as green as it gets. Let’s see how.

3 key factors impact the construction and use of buildings. These are the design and construction cost, operating cost, and environmental cost. Each cost has not always been equally important to all involved in the building’s life span. For example – the architect and general contractor are typically most concerned with aesthetics, function and meeting a construction budget. Similarly, a facility manager often has to operate and maintain a structure in which he had no role in designing. And, there have been few in any capacity – until recently, who were concerned with the environmental footprint of their building, beyond conforming to local building codes. Today, concern for all costs and more and more of the environmental one, is equally compelling to all involved in the construction cycle and building use.

Let’s examine these costs, beginning with construction. The selection of exterior cladding materials is usually dictated by the desired appearance. Once bidding takes place however, a building is often over-budget and the value-engineering phase begins. This process can result in changing the aesthetics and as a consequence, sacrifices quality and performance. But not with Dryvit Outsulation systems. In a case study by a major architectural firm, over 10% – $570,000 of shell construction costs were saved on a building designed for masonry, by substituting the Dryvit Outsulation system. The exact look of the project was maintained, and 2 months were slashed from the construction schedule! Imagine what the building owner could do with that extra “green”!

Next, let’s look at the operating cost. Specifically – the HVAC and maintenance cost for the lifetime of the building. 40% of all energy consumed goes for heating and cooling of buildings of all types. And energy prices have tripled in the past few years. Much research has been dedicated to the goal of reducing energy use, for instance – the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) determined that insulation placed on the exterior of the wall in steel frame construction reduces both air leakage and thermal bridging. This in turn, greatly improves energy efficiency. Dryvit Outsulation systems do just that. By literally placing a seamless thermal blanket on the outside of your building and helping to reduce energy consumption. The state of Massachusetts endorses this concept, by requiring exterior insulation for all metal framed structures in the state building code, and other states are considering similar legislation. At Dryvit’s request, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridges National Laboratory conducted whole-wall experiments in order to compare the energy efficiency of several commonly used claddings. The 2″ thick Dryvit Outsulation systems were found to be at least 84% more energy efficient than the next best one. What does 84% more energy efficient mean? Simply that Dryvit Outsulation systems can reduce a building’s energy use by 30% with no additional cost. In fact in 2006, by dramatically increasing the energy efficiency of over 350,000 buildings, Dryvit Outsulation systems saved the equivalent of over 3,500,000 barrels of oil.

It’s clear, Dryvit Outsulation systems can save money on both construction and operating costs for the building’s life-time. But in today’s more socially conscious economy, that just isn’t green enough.
Because of the theorized link of carbon dioxide emissions to rapid climate change, special focus has been placed on establishing the “carbon footprint” of all things, large and small. Building products need to be evaluated in terms of their impact on the environment over their entire lifetime and not just at a single point. For this reason, Dryvit asked the national institute of standards and technology to evaluate the environmental impact of Outsulation systems throughout these 5 life-cycle stages. this chart shows the resources needed to extract and create the materials we use to make our Outsulation systems, including the expanded polystyrene. It also takes into account our manufacturing process. As you can see, the energy required is significantly less than for some other common claddings. In fact, while we’re on the topic of manufacturing, Dryvit’s facilities are managed to ISO standards which require constant measurement and improvement. ISO is the benchmark for world-wide manufacturing excellence.

Transportation comes next. When comparable square foot quantities of various claddings are transported equal distances, Dryvit outsulation systems compare very favourably with brick and stucco.

After construction and use – which we’ve already discussed, comes the end life of a product, which involves reuse, recycling or disposal of a product. Again, Outsulation systems are superior. The Dryvit-Care program perscribes the routine and affordable measures that can be taken to keep Outsulation systems looking beautiful. When properly cared for, Outsulation systems can perform as intended for the life-time of the building. Dryvit outsulation systems are also used to renovate other materials – such as brick and stucco without changing the look, and without having to remove and dispose of the original cladding. It is tempting to think that because Dryvit Outsulation systems incorporate expanded polystyrene and acrylic polymers, that somehow this makes them less ecologically responsible than the seemingly more natural product such as wood siding, or clay brick. It is essential however, that when evaluating a product’s environmental impact, the entire life cycle be considered. Whether a product is natural or manufactured, there are embedded energy costs involved with each phase. No single phase is more important than another. The size of every product’s environmental footprint is determined by the total impact over the entire life cycle.

Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is a world-wide environmental goal. This study shows that over the the 50-year life cycle of the building, the carbon footprint of Dryvit outsulation systems is about 3 times smaller than stucco, and 5 times smaller than brick.

Green buildings reduce carbon dioxide emissions by using fewer resources throughout their life cycle. Today, everyone involved in the business of designing, constructing and operating buildings has an opportunity to positively affect the world by making smart choices. So choose Dryvit Outsulation systems – products with a tiny environmental footprint, but huge economic and ecological benefits. That’s why we can claim – we’re as green as it gets.

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    • What is Stucco?

      "Stucco" is typically what people in the Toronto area use when they're looking for EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finish Systems, or "synthetic stucco"). We use the two terms interchangeably.

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