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Understanding Continuous Insulation Systems for Sustainability and Net-Zero Energy Construction

StoTherm® ci® continuous insulation (CI) wall systems (EIFS) create sustainable, net zero, and aesthetically attractive homes, like the Conner family house in Fairfax, Virginia – the city’s first net-zero energy (NZE) home and winner of the 2019 EIMA Hero Award for outstanding projects in the EIFS industry.

To achieve an NZE-sustainable home with a passive house design, the Conner family chose StoTherm® ci, Sto’s continuous insulation wall system. The wall system includes an integrated air and water-resistive barrier, StoTherm insulated cladding and drainage, and StoLit® Lotusan (a self-cleaning textured finish with self-cleaning properties). It provides an all-in-one, quick-to-install approach to the building envelope.

What is a Sustainable Home?

A sustainable home strives to minimize its environmental impact during and after construction by reducing carbon emissions and conserving natural resources, like energy, water, raw materials, and land, saving money and helping preserve natural resources for generations.

What is Passive Design?

A Passive House design requires that the wall system and other building envelope components work together with the home’s ori­en­ta­tion, window and room placement, shading, and ven­ti­la­tion to lower energy use.

What is a Net-Zero Energy Home?

Net-zero energy (NZE) homes make enough renewable energy to meet their annual energy consumption needs. An NZE home’s design typically includes continuous insulation (CI), high thermal mass products, energy-efficient glazings, roofing, and foundation, sustainable building products, and a renewable energy source.

What is Continuous Insulation?

The design of a sustainable and net-zero energy home often includes continuous insulation (CI). Continuous insulation prevents thermal bridging, significantly lessening energy consumption. In addition, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE 90.1) and the International Energy Conservation Code (2021 IECC) mandate CI, as defined by the ASHRAE 90.1-2010.

The ASHRAE 90.1-2010 defines CI as insulation covering all structural members without thermal bridges other than service openings and fasteners. Builders must install CI on the interior or exterior of any opaque building envelope surface.

Net Zero Energy Home in Fairfax, Virginia

Sto Products: StoTherm® ci and StoLit® Lotusan® 1.0
Applicator: Robert A Aird, Inc.
General Contractor: O’Neill Development
Architect: Peabody Architects

David Peabody of Peabody Architects initially selected StoTherm® ci, an exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS), for its lower installation costs than traditional mineral wool batts and high-pressure laminate panels. StoTherm® ci also offered his client a superior water-resistant finish modeled after natural processes. Its exterior finish sheds water from the surface (like lotus plant leaves), extending the cleaning and re-coating cycles and reducing maintenance costs.

It’s important to note that by using a StoTherm ci system the time-consuming need to separately air seal the walls of the house was not needed.StoTherm ci includes a liquid-applied air and water-resistive barrier.

Architects selected Stolit® Lotusan®, a textured finish with self-cleaning properties. Applicator Robert A Aird, Inc. saved time by using a hand-troweled method with the Stolit® Lotusan® 1.0 to create the crisp, clean, industrial appearance for the house’s exterior that was the aesthetic vision shared by the architect, David Peabody, and the homeowners.

You can download this case study today for free, right here.

StoTherm® ci

High-performing, energy-efficient StoTherm® ci all-in-one building envelope systems include:

  • StoGuard® liquid-applied air and water-resistive barrier, achieving an air infiltration number of 0.45 ACH@50 pascals
  • StoTherm® insulated cladding, and drainage, making it Sto’s best continuous insulation wall system (EIFS).
  • In addition, StoTherm® ci allows a builder or architect to adjust the insulation value without altering the stud width, reducing material and labor costs.

Stolit® Lotusan® Finish

Stolit® Lotusan® Finish with Lotus-Effect® technology offers builders a ready-mixed exterior textured finish coat in dazzling color choices. It mimics the self-cleaning capabilities of the lotus leaf, resisting dirt while keeping walls clean and attractive. The high-performing protective system also ensures it will stand up to whatever nature brings.

Builders and architects can apply Stolit® Lotusan® with Lotus-Effect® technology as a finish coat over StoTherm® ci wall claddings, prepared vertical concrete, masonry, and plaster substrates.

The Best Continuous Insulation System for Sustainability and Net-Zero Energy Construction

StoTherm® ci continuous insulation (CI) wall systems (EIFS) create sustainable, net zero, and aesthetically attractive homes. The StoTherm® ci all-in-one and quick-to-install system includes:

  • A waterproof air and water-resistive barrier
  • StoTherm® insulated cladding and drainage
  • A choice of Sto Performative aesthetic finishes in a wide variety of aesthetics, colors and performance characteristics, including StoLit® Lotusan® finish.

Our fully-engineered, high-performing systems provide unmatched versatility with various design options, including unique colors, textures, shapes, and materials for any creative vision.

Contact one of our experienced representatives today at 1-800-221-2397 for more on achieving the best CI systems for sustainability and net-zero energy construction.

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