Thursday, April 3, 2014

Foam-Free High Performance Building Enclosures

[Article and photos by Adam Prince]

On Tuesday, April 1st, Oliver Klein from 475 Building High Performance Building Supply ( presented on Foam Free High Performance Building Enclosures. Approximately 25 architects, builders, product vendors, and other professionals attended the presentation, which was co-hosted by the USGBC Cape & Islands Interest Group ( and the BSA Cape & Islands Architects Network (

Oliver, an architect and Certified Passive House Consultant, noted that the requirements and characteristics for high performance enclosures are evolving, with greater emphasis on air tightness, active vapor control, resilience and sustainability. He put forward the argument that foam is a less effective approach than what can be achieved without it.  He discussed optimizing building enclosures using membranes, wraps, tapes in combination with off-the-shelf building materials such as cellulose to help provide airtightness, vapor control, ventilation, and strategies for super-insulation.

The crowd greatly appreciated the thoughtful presentation on efficient, resilient, comfortable and healthy buildings, while also benefiting from continuing education units (CEUs) for both the architects and builders. Shepley Wood Products ( generously donated use of the presentation space. 475 Building High Performance Building Supply provided both content and food/drinks!

USGBC Cape & Islands Interest Group finished the evening by announcing that the event in May would be a tour of a brand new mixed use building in the process of LEED-NC certification, plus a short update presentation on the status of a previously toured house targeting LEED for Homes certification. More details on the May event to come!

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