A Home for the Holidays and Beyond

A Home for the Holidays and Beyond

A Home for the Holidays and Beyond – Extreme cold weather insulation solution warms Lendlease military housing in Fairbanks, AK

 This holiday season, we’re thankful to the troops at home and abroad for their commitment to our country. This time of year also has us reflecting on these men and women so deserving of the gift of well-insulated homes.

One such feel-good moment came while working with Lendlease. The property and infrastructure group has partnered with the U.S. Army to construct over 35,000 new homes, in addition to more than 35,700 renovated legacy homes. Lendlease’s military housing units span across the United States, reaching as far north as Fairbanks, Alaska. For this particular subarctic-climate housing project at Fort Greely and nearby Fort Wainwright, Lendlease required an insulation solution that could weather Alaska’s infamously long and cold winters.

For Greg Starkey, senior construction manager for Lendlease, the answer was R-Tech IV. “The (expanded polystyrene) EPS has been tested by the cold climate consultant for the project, and documented by REMOTE wall contractors as a preferred insulation product,” Starkey explained.

EPS CI installation on Lendlease home in Fairbanks, Alaska

Wall insulation: keeping the warmth in and moisture out

R-Tech IV wall insulation is a logical choice for frigid Fairbanks. The solution combines the cold-blocking power of EPS with advanced polymeric laminate facers. In application, these surface coatings help keep water vapor, or condensation, from damaging the inside of homes. With Fairbanks’ first snowfall typically arriving in September, it was crucial for the insulation to withstand increased moisture from constantly running heaters and HVAC systems.

 Insulating and protecting the foundation with below-grade insulation

The military housing community also incorporated R-Tech IV below grade insulation, which similarly features polymeric facers and boasts long-term warranties. Lendlease used the material horizontally and vertically on the foundation perimeters to keep heat trapped in the ground. Starkey noted that this approach helps keep soil below the foundation in a thawed state to reduce upward swelling. Known as frost heaving, this process can lead to serious structural damage.

EPS is well-suited to keep frost heaving at bay. Take Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations (FPSFs), for example. As the EPS Industry Alliance (EPS-IA) explains, EPS is recommended for this building technique “because of its high resistance to moisture and consistent performance properties in severe freeze-thaw conditions.” The EPS-IA further illustrates how the Army used this method in an airport control tower in Galena, Alaska, where “the frost depth is 13 feet and temperatures can get down to -60°F for weeks at a time. The tower has not experienced frost heave or differential settlement.”

Bringing it home

Projects like this one never fail to warm our hearts. As winter approaches, the right insulation can be a comfort to residential communities great and small.