Product Spotlight: InsulTech® by Northfield Block Company
Romtec offers a wide range of advanced product options from aesthetic to structural components, and one of the most interesting product options we have used recently is InsulTech®, and Oldcastle product. InsulTech is an insulated masonry system used to construct concrete block buildings, and the innovation and value of this product offers benefits for all types of building owners. Romtec is currently working on a project that uses InsulTech for the complete building construction, giving us a first-hand look at this product and its advantages.
InsulTech block is classified as “Thermally Broken,” which means that a layer of insulation completely “breaks” the thermal transfer between two layers. In this case, the inner layer is a fairly common looking CMU block and the outer layer is thinner concrete veneer. The inner and outer layer have precast dovetail grooves that allow an insulated layer to be inserted, connecting the inner block with the outer veneer. Upon installation, a foam expansion gasket is installed between the foam connecting layers. This gasket layer is used in conjunction with grout to connect each concrete chase of the walls. You can see this in the installation photo below.
Insulation is typically rated by what’s called an R-value, or resistance value. R-value describes the insulation capacity for various materials, but for “continuous insulation” materials such as InsulTech, effective R-value is the better measurement. Effective R-value takes into account the entire wall system as opposed to the R-value of a specific materials. Effective R-value also takes into account heat transfer potential for things like moisture content, thermal mass, and air movement. These aspects all effect how heat is transferred. InsulTech, as a continuous insulation system, includes special design features to improve these aspects of heat transfer to produce a higher R-value.
Romtec recently installed a new restroom building that doubles as a storm shelter in Andover, Kansas. This building is completely constructed out of the InsulTech block system. For protection of human lives during extreme weather, InsulTech is a terrific solution. Although this product is typically a boon to energy efficiency of a building, this construction material also offers manty advantages to a storm shelter application. As a continuous insulation system, InsulTech will not blow off the building during high winds and can protect against both fire and cold weather. When considering that human occupants may have to stay indoors for prolonged periods during extreme weather, using a product that can protect people from a wide range of dangers makes a lot of sense.
Romtec offers customers complete in-house design for custom projects. Designing a combination restroom and storm shelter with a continuous insulation system like InsulTech is not an easy design task. The inventor of InsulTech, Len Browning, said that few organizations have designed a building utilizing this product with the level of sophistication that was provided by Romtec. If you have a new building with difficult design requirements, count on Romtec to provide all of the services you need to get it done correctly. Contact Romtec today to learn more about InsulTech and to see if it would be suitable for your project of application.