New DOE code changes require improved energy efficiency in commercial construction

Outsulation by Dryvit incorporates continuous insulation and a seamless air/water-resistive barrier, which meets new code requirements  

November 05, 2013 |

The Department of Energy (DOE) has mandated that by October 18, 2013, all states are required to certify compliance with the ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010 as adopted by the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). With the goal of reducing energy consumption, this will require increased use of continuous insulation in most commercial wall assemblies in nearly all climate zones in the U.S. Dryvit Systems Inc., a leading manufacturer of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), is happy to offer Outsulation by Dryvit as an exterior cladding solution that meets and exceeds the new code requirements.

Design and construction practices must be adjusted to meet new codes by incorporating rigid continuous insulation and continuous air barrier assemblies in exterior walls behind all claddings, which would not otherwise meet code requirements on their own.  These new energy code practices will reduce the impact of energy consumption across the country. In a September 2013 discussion with Sam Rashkin, chief architect, building technologies office of the DOE, he stated, “The DOE’s Building America Program advocates that buildings be constructed to minimize thermal bridging.  Cladding systems that utilize rigid insulation help to achieve this performance objective.” 

Defining Code Changes

Dryvit has provided EIFS, which offer energy efficient cladding solutions and include rigid continuous insulation, since 1969. As topics around energy efficient and sustainable construction began to spark larger public and government interest in the early 2000s, Dryvit representatives committed to further educating congress on EIFS as a solution to energy efficient construction and design.

“For decades we’ve worked to educate architects, designers and contractors on the energy efficient benefits of using Outsulation® by Dryvit to eliminate thermal breaks and reduce energy loss,” said Tony Stall, VP of marketing and sustainability, Dryvit. “When the topic of sustainability really took center stage among the larger public in the early 2000s, we saw this as a great opportunity to help educate leaders in Washington about building technology, the elements of exterior cladding which lead to increased energy consumption, and the adjustments that can be made to decrease energy loss. We’re proud to offer Outsulation systems by Dryvit as a solution towards meeting goals that point our nation in the direction of improved sustainability.”

The DOE conducted research at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and found that EIFS can save 20 to 30 percent annually, which would allow for a large portion of that 50 percent mandate to be achieved. When the DOE conducted testing to identify a top performing exterior cladding solution, a common metal-framed wall assembly with Outsulation by Dryvit was determined to be 84% more energy efficient than other traditional claddings tested.

As states across the nation confirm that they will adopt the new commercial building codes, utilizing EIFS will meet the need for a significant change to the design of wall assemblies in new commercial construction.

Identifying A Solution

What separated EIFS from other exterior cladding materials tested by the DOE was the fact that it incorporated continuous insulation, which prevents thermal bridging. EIFS, or Outsulation by Dryvit, are wall systems that eliminate the opportunity for air leakage and wasted energy. Dryvit’s fluid applied air and water-resistive barrier products, Backstop® NT and AquaFlash®, are applied to the exterior of a wall assembly eliminating all joints, cracks or starting and stopping points. This creates one single sourced and comprehensive cladding system from flashing to finish.

Code Changes In Effect

The IECC code changes have different requirements based on the eight climate zones in the U.S. Determining the climate zone of a project is the first step in determining the requirements. A map of the climate zones can be found here.

For more information on code changes and EIFS as a solution, please visit Here you’ll find information on key terms such as thermal bridging and R-value, along with details on the benefits of each layer in the Outsulation by Dryvit systems.

“This is an exciting time in the commercial construction industry, and an extremely positive change for all parties it affects,” said Stall. “Sustainability is a value deeply rooted in the Dryvit brand. We’re committed to serving as an expert resource for architects, construction professionals and building owners when it comes to information on understanding the codes, and energy efficient exterior cladding solutions.”

About Dryvit Systems, Inc.

Dryvit Systems, Inc. ( is the manufacturer of Outsulation®, the premier Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS), in the U.S. Dryvit operates all North American manufacturing facilities to both ISO 9001:2008 and 14001:2004 standards. Dryvit is a member of, and is actively engaged in, many relevant construction-related organizations such as AWCI, EIMA, NAHB, USGBC, ABAA, AIA and CSI. Dryvit works both independently and within those organizations to promote energy efficient construction methods that create jobs, reduce reliance on non-renewable energy sources, and reduce the carbon footprint of our nation’s buildings.

A subsidiary of the more than $4 billion industrial sealants and coatings brand holder RPM International, Inc., a Fortune 1,000 Company, of Medina, Ohio (NYSE:RPM), Dryvit is headquartered in West Warwick, R.I., and has manufacturing facilities there as well as in Georgia, Oklahoma, California, Canada and Poland.

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