Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Deep Energy Envelope Upgrades Using Retrofit Insulated Panels (24003)

Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc.


Installation of exterior insulation to existing homes has long been one solution to reducing heating and cooling energy costs in many regions of the country. Often this exterior insulation is practically limited to one-inch thickness due to the significant cost increases when adding thicker insulation layers. More so with existing homes, the myriad of existing home age, styles, construction, and previous upgrades tend to make each retrofit project a unique design effort that is costly for the design effort alone. Although solutions are being demonstrated with associated standard design details, the outcome remains expensive both for materials and labor. The structural design used to support windows and siding, can introduce complexity, simplified by a panel approach. Significant levels of insulation can be included merely by increasing panel thickness, and the structural details to accommodate windows/siding will undergo standardized testing for prescriptive approaches.

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Project Description

The proposed design solutions for Retrofit Insulated Panels will detail moisture management methods, fastening specifications, code compliance requirements, and flashing and air sealing details. The insulation improvements focus on exterior insulation methodologies leading to deep energy savings. The demonstration DER projects will implement and verify the solutions through field testing, monitoring, and an evaluation of installed costs and savings. Major factors to be carefully controlled: moisture management details for window and door openings, limitations in the attachment design details for insulation layers > 1.0”, and incomplete insulation joints. Using Retrofit Insulated Panels, integrated into the wall, roof and foundation, the panel system will provide a substantially air-tight, weather resistant and thermally insulated building envelope enclosure. Openings in the panels’ may be field cut or supplied from the factory with openings already cut.


Strategy allows the addition of > 1” of rigid foam to the exterior, via reduced labor, and presents 30% reduction opportunities for air leakage and source energy use, for a $1,750 annual space conditioning savings. Case study and educational materials to be developed and benefit from Contractor’s excellent tech-transfer abilities and link to Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) publications.

Project Results


Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc.
400 Prince George's Blvd.
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Principle Investigator

Thomas Kenney

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Building Systems
Building Construction Methods

NYSERDA Contact Information

Gregory Pedrick


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 2/23/2012
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: 24003

Last Updated: 8/18/2014