Living Smart. Living for the Future. Sustainability.

WHAt is sustainability

The principle of sustainability embodies the intrinsic relationship between humans and nature and represents the responsibility humans have to preserve the natural environment.

According to the EPA, “To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.”

What does sustainability have to do with buildings


The building sector is not only the largest energy-consuming sector, accounting for over one-third of global energy consumption, but it also has the largest potential for significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to other major emitting sectors.

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1/3 of all GHG emissions are generated by buildings

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Buildings account for 40% of global resource use

electricity usage

40% of global final energy use is attributed to buildings

global energy usage

60% of global electricity is consumed by buildings

  25% of global water usage

Buildings are responsible for 25% of global water use

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Fossil fuels supply 2/3 of total building energy consumption

The building sector consumes nearly half of all energy produced in the United States, is responsible for half of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions and requires approximately 75% of the United States electricity production.

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One-third of consumed energy is lost through conventional building envelopes. The building envelope is key in determining the amount of energy needed for space heating and cooling, which together can account for up to 60% of all energy consumed in a building.

Before Continuous Insulation 

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After Continuous Insulation

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Green Buildings. Happy People.

How does this affect you

As cities grow, more and more developments are underway.  There is a need for more commercial buildings, houses, apartments complexes, retail, schools, hospitals, hotels and stadiums.  This causes an increase in energy demand, which not only negatively impacts the environment but also has a negative impact on electricity, gas and oil prices, as well as homeowners.

Moving to a "greener" way of building will be a major benefit to everyone and everything.  Rmax polysio insulation contributes to that initiative as it:

  • Lowers energy cost
  • Reduces energy use from heating and cooling systems, keeping buildings and homes more comfortable
  • Provides multiple building products into a single application - eliminating the need for additional non-sustainable construction materials that produce carbon dioxide emissions.  This also saves on the pollution caused by the transportation of the additional materials and eliminates excessive material waste that is disposed in the already overflowing landfills.

As rapid development in new or retrofit constructions continue, Rmax provides architects and engineers with a superior continuous insulation product that is in place for a lifetime. 

What can be done - Follow our lead

Sustainable design is not only the answer to achieving the most significant energy reductions, but it is also the future of the building industry.


Why Polyiso?

What is Polyiso INSULATION

Polyisocyanurate (polyiso) is a closed-cell, rigid foam board insulation consisting of a foam core sandwiched between two facers. The facers are composed of various organic and inorganic materials. It is used in over 70% of commercial and residential markets for both wall and roof applications. 

Rmax ECOMAXci™ Wall Solution

Rmax Multi-Max® FA-3

Rmax TSX-8510


Rmax Thermasheath®-SI Residential Solution

Rmax Nailable Base-3


  • Low environmental impact
  • CFC, HCFC, HFC free blowing agent
    • Virtually no global warming potential
    • Zero ozone depletion potential
  • Cost effective, optimized energy performance
  • Long service life
  • Recyclable through reuse
  • Recycled content (amount varies by product)
  • Regional materials (nationwide production network)
  • Meets new continuous insulation (ci) standards
  • Quality Mark™ certified LTTR-values
  • High R-Value per inch of thickness
  • Thinner walls and roofs with shorter fasteners
  • Excellent fire test performance
  • Extensive building code approvals
  • Preferred insurance ratings
  • Compatible with most roof and wall systems
  • Moisture resistance
  • Dimensional stability
  • Compressive strength
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Insulation is the product found to provide the greatest investment return and offer the most carbon abatement. Polyiso – which Forbes considers a “green” insulation – offers the highest R-value in its class, with a 20% - 70% greater R-value per inch than any other rigid foam plastic insulation. 

What Makes us Stand Out

Rmax has always been a leader in energy conservation. In 1978, Rmax began creating insulation solutions based on the latest building science as a response to the energy crisis.

We offer a full line of high quality, polyiso-based roof, wall and specialty insulation products for commercial, industrial and residential applications delivering maximum R-values and minimum environmental impact, with efficiency in installation, cost and design.

Following the recent Sika acquisition, Rmax anticipates even greater energy-saving opportunities and looks forward to further embracing its sustainable culture and expanding its sustainable vision.

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Create Space for Nature. Sustainable Design.

Turning Theory into Practice

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A Sustainable Design philosophy is one that encourages decisions at each phase of the design process that will reduce negative impacts on the environment and the health of the occupants, without compromising the bottom line. Increasing energy efficiency is a crucial component of sustainable design, as well as conserving water, enhancing indoor air quality and favoring environmentally preferable products. Designing in such a conscientious way incites a positive influence on all phases of a building’s life cycle, from design and construction to operation and decommissioning. 


Control Layers are crucial elements of the sustainable design and the building envelope, ensuring that the outside stays out and the inside stays in.  A building’s ultimate performance depends on the performance of the following control layers: thermal, air and moisture. The thermal layer controls the transfer of heat through insulation products and radiant barriers, while the air layer is essential in controlling moisture levels and air quality. Lastly, the moisture layer controls condensation and leaks and is attainable through exterior cladding or roofing along with a Water-Resistive Barrier (WRB).


A Green Building is a building that, in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment. Any building can be green, and there are multiple ways to gain the distinction, such as the efficient use of energy, water and other resources, the use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable and the enabling of re-use and recycling. Furthermore, the environmental benefits of LEED certification are greater for green buildings than for non-green buildings. 


A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a technique that improves understanding of the human health and environmental impacts of products, processes and activities in order to make more informed, responsible decisions. It evaluates the entire life cycle of a product or process, beginning with extraction and concluding with end-of-life management, to discover opportunities that reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources and reduce costs. The LCA for polyiso roof and wall insulation served as a critical resource for the environmental impacts reported in the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

How to Conceptualize Sustainable Design

 Minimize Non-Renewable   Energy Consumption

Minimize Non-Renewable Energy Consumption

 Optimize   Site and Design   Potential

Optimize Site and Design Potential

 Protect and Conserve   Water

Protect and Conserve Water

 Use Environmentally-Preferable   Materials and Products

Use Environmentally-Preferable
Materials and Products

   Reduce, Reuse and Recycle   Waste

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Waste

 Systematically Evaluate and Adjust   Building Functionality

Systematically Evaluate and Adjust
Building Functionality

 Achieve a High Quality Indoor   Air   Environment

Achieve a High Quality Indoor Air Environment

 Support a Strong   Community

Support a Strong Community

 Create Marketable and Attractive   Designs

Create Marketable and Attractive Designs



 Why design with Continuous Insulation?

Continuity is key when ensuring the highest performance of a building. Proper control of the thermal, air and moisture layers is not only desirable but also achievable. Continuous insulation provides control at each layer, through its thermal performance, reduced air infiltration & exfiltration and reduced risk of water condensation and moisture intrusion.

Thermal Bridging

Most mainstream building techniques create thermal bridges, which occur when a more conductive material allows an easy pathway for heat flow across a thermal barrier. 

According to ASHRAE90.1-2013, thermal bridging of the metal studs can cause a 40-65% reduction in the effective R-value of cavity insulation for various metal stud depths & spacing. 

Continuous insulation is the solution to thermal bridging. A proper building envelope will not only eliminate energy loss, but it will also lead to lower utility bills and a greater overall value.

 25% percent of walls remain uninsulated due to the amount of framing in a typical construction.

25% percent of walls remain uninsulated due to the amount of framing in a typical construction.

Thermal Imaging: Conventional Construction versus CI Construction

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Conventional construction can cause up to 65% reduction in the effective R-value of insulation. Exterior continuous insulation can reduce or eliminate this heat loss.


Air Leakage

Air leakage can contribute to up to 40% of energy loss and be responsible for 30-50% of heating & cooling costs. Effects of air leakage include mold, occupant discomfort and reducing the life span of a building.

Air barrier systems provide a complete and total barrier to air leakage through allowing air to enter and exit buildings only at designed locations for specific purposes. Learn more here more about how the Rmax Envelope First Solution can create an air barrier assembly that protects buildings from the adverse effects of air leakage. 

Rmax ECOMAXci™ Wall Solution is evaluated and listed with The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) for use in commercial buildings, a system that meets the most advanced building codes for air, water, fire and continuous insulation. Click here to learn how to use ECOMAXci™ Wall Solution in your commercial building today.

Why use an air barrier system

  • Reduce building enclosure moisture problems

  • Improve indoor air quality

  • Reduce building heating and cooling costs

  • Reduce GHG production

  • Improve acoustical isolation

  • Isolate the indoor environment

  • Create a sustainable, durable building

Major Sources of Air Leaks

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Air Sealing Trouble Spots

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The Rmax Solution addresses air
leaks at:

1-Air barrier & thermal barrier
alignment including headers and door studs
3-Attic knee walls
6-Staircase framing at exterior wall
9-Attic access
13- Wall penetrations
15-Garage/living space walls
16-Cantilever floors
17-Rim joist, sill plate, floors
19-Common walls between attached

Leaving the following areas to focus

2-Attic air sealing
4-Shafts for pipes and ducts
5-Drop ceilings and soffits
7-Porch roof
8-Flue or chimney shafts
10-Recessed lighting
12-Whole house fans
14-Fireplace Walls
18-Windows and doors


Moisture Control

Over 90% of moisture that enters a wall assembly is in the form of vapor due to air leaks. Moisture can also enter a wall assembly through bulk water leaks and the transition of vapor through a building material. 

In addition to reducing the effects of cavity insulation, condensed water vapor can lead to mold, moisture and serious health problems. 

Continuous insulation with a water-resistive barrier (WRB) resists condensation build-up by creating a temperature-controlled wall that works in any climate. 

For supreme moisture control, learn how Thermasheath®-3 & Thermasheath®-SI create a fully tested WRM and air barrier wall system

Unsuccessful Moisture Control

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Moisture damage can be the result of inadequate condensation control (left) or localized wetting from a leak (right).

Continuous Insulation Project Types

Aquatic Facilities
Universities & Colleges
Commercial Facilities
Detention Facilities
Fire Stations
Health Care Buildings
Industrial Complexes

Medical Office Buildings
Mixed-Use Buildings
Multi-Family Buildings
Municipal Buildings
Office Buildings
Performing Arts
Police Stations

Post Offices
Religious Buildings
Research Buildings
School K-12
Senior Living Centers
Storage Facilities









 BLOCK 75 Project Profile

BLOCK 75 Project Profile










Aiming for Zero

Net Zero Buildings are buildings that are able to produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year. Through energy efficient products and sustainable infrastructure, net zero buildings can significantly reduce energy consumption within the building industry.


Net Zero Building Features


Net-Zero Commercial: 

  • Superior Air Sealing & Insulation
  • Computers & Office Equipment
  • Day Lighting
  • Efficient Kitchen Equipment
  • Energy Management System
  • Energy Recovery Ventilation
  • High-Efficiency Fluorescent or LED Lighting
  • Heat Pump
  • Heat Pump Water Heater
  • Lighting Controls
  • Photovoltaic Panels
  • Variable Speed Pumps
  • Window Shades
  • Wood Pellet Boiler
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Net-Zero Residential: 

  • Double Insulation
  • Exceptional Air Sealing
  • Efficient Lighting
  • Energy Management
  • Low-Flow Water Fixtures
  • Heat Pump
  • Heat Pump Water Heater
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation
  • High Performance Windows & Doors
  • Photovoltaic Panels
  • Tier 3 Appliances
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benefits of living in a Net Zero Home

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Desire to do more?

It is never too late to invest in tomorrow. 


Sustainable Design Initiatives

The building sector has two options moving forward:

Continue to run business-as-usual regardless of any consequential environmental damage that may result OR become a leader in the global shift towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.


What can you do

Whether you are a homeowner, builder, customer, all of the above, or none of the above, you have the potential to be a pioneer in the sustainability movement. Remain ahead of the game by learning more about the innovative initiatives taking place in an effort to transform sustainable dreams to a reality.

Sustainable Design Initiatives: Net Zero in Action


Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home

A DOE Zero Energy Ready Home is an energy-efficient home containing a renewable energy system that can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption. Representing a new level of performance with rigorous requirements, these homes ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health & durability.

Since 2013, the Housing Innovation Awards recognize the best, most innovative Zero Energy Ready homes around the country. Each year, polyiso insulation remains a consistent feature among the winners. 

Case Study: United Way of Long Island, Deer Park, NY
DOE Zero Energy Ready Home 2016 Grand Winner – Innovation in Affordable Homes

- Two layers of .75” polyiso insulation
- Photovoltaic solar panels
- Furring strips

- ENERGY STAR appliances
- Vinyl-framed double-pane windows
- Low-VOC paint and finishes

  2016 Grand Winner - United Way of Long Island

2016 Grand Winner - United Way of Long Island

“Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home program has recognized hundreds of leading builders for their achievements in energy efficiency, resulting in over 14,000 energy efficient homes and millions of dollars in energy savings.”
— U.S Department of Energy

Shelter Dynamics & Green Builder Media: Net Zero Tiny Houses

The tiny house movement exemplifies a growing awareness of the consequences of global consumption and the need to reduce one’s own carbon footprint. As the tiny house market grows, innovative builders and organizations are raising the bar in terms of creating housing that combines sustainability, functionality and artistry.  

Case Study: Arc House – A Resilient Prototype
By Shelter Dynamics, Green Builder Media, Align 3D & Kitcheneering 

- Advanced windows
- Integrated solar with battery storage
- Passive solar design
- Energy use feedback

- Two layers of polyiso insulation
- Acrylic roof coating
- Built-in awnings
- Efficient HVAC & appliances

  Arc House, by Shelter Dynamics – A Resilient Prototype

Arc House, by Shelter Dynamics – A Resilient Prototype

“A new dwelling concept that combines the economy and simplicity of tiny house living with cutting edge building science. A home that is smart, self-sufficient, and compact.”
— Green Builder Media

Plastics Make It Possible: A Tiny House That’s Big on Energy Efficiency

Plastics Make It Possible is an online platform intended to highlight plastic innovations around the world. In collaboration with Zach Giffin from FYI Network’s “Tiny House Nation,” Plastics Make It Possible constructed an energy efficient tiny house using plastic building products in order to demonstrate how modern building materials can improve a home’s energy efficiency.

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“From more fuel-efficient cars to minimalist packaging to energy saving building products, innovations in plastics have helped us do more in our lives with less impact on the environment. By enabling advances in global sustainability, modern plastics profoundly improved our ability to create a better life while caring for the future.”
— Plastics Make it Possible

Zero Energy Project

This non-profit educational organization offers tools, resources & information on zero energy for residential and commercial buildings.  Through taking meaningful steps towards building net zero energy homes, Zero Energy Project envisions a time when homes and buildings are able to produce more energy than they consume.

  After Net Zero Deep Energy Retrofit - White Claw Farm

After Net Zero Deep Energy Retrofit - White Claw Farm

Case study: West Tisbury, MA
Zero Energy Renovation Project – White Claw Farm

3” polyiso wall insulation
Photovoltaic solar panels
Energy Star appliances
Three/fourths ton ducted heat pump
Heavily insulated and sealed ducts
Ventilation at 90%
LED lighting
Low-flow showerheads

“The mission of the Zero Energy Project is to provide information and education to prospective home buyers, builders, designers, real estate professionals and advocates about zero net energy homes and to advance the prevalence of these homes in the mainstream housing market.”
— Zero Energy Project

Sustainable Design Initiatives: Planning for Success


The American Institute of Architects: AIA 2030 Commitment

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The AIA 2030 Commitment supports Architecture 2030’s ‘2030 Challenge’ by providing simple metrics and a streamlined set of confidential data to the firms that have pledged their participation to this initiative that seeks to create a carbon-neutral society by 2030. 

2016 Progress Report:

  • Average energy savings of 42%
  • 6 firms achieved energy savings of 70%
  • 15% increase in number of reporting firms (overall signatories more than 400)
  • 33% increase in reported projects
  • Potential energy savings from 2016 projects represent approximately 16.7 million metric tons of GHG emissions, the equivalent of about five coal-fired power plants. 
“The mission of The AIA 2030 Commitment is to transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project-based and data-drive, so that the AIA and the participating firms can prioritize energy performance and carbon reductions in the design toward carbon neutral buildings, developments and major renovations by 2030.”
— The American Institute of Architects


This annual student design competition creates opportunities for future architects, engineers, construction managers & entrepreneurs to gain the skills and experience to start careers in clean energy and generate creative solutions to real-world problems.

Collegiate institutions sponsor teams comprised of at least three students, a faculty advisor & a team leader.

Teams obtain specific design problems and must redesign an existing floor plan or create a new house design that satisfies required guidelines.

The mandatory performance target is the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home specification.

  Grand Winner: Lane Zero

Grand Winner: Lane Zero

“The Race to Zero inspires collegiate students to become the next generation of building science professionals through a design challenge for zero energy ready buildings.”
— U.S. Department of Energy

Sustainable Design Initiatives: Build Smart. Build Green.


Department of Energy’s Building America: Bringing Building Innovations to Market

The Building America Program conducts innovative research, development & deployment projects in residential buildings in order to improve industry standards and building codes. Through a collaboration of DOE national laboratories, building science teams and leading industry players, Building America is able to develop and demonstrate technical solutions while overcoming market barriers. Since 1995, households across the nation saved up to $54 billion and avoided the emissions of 500 million tons of carbon dioxide. 

For optimal success based on historical data and current market needs, Building America focuses on the following three housing technology areas: 

  1. High Performance Moisture Managed Envelope Solutions
  2. Optimal Comfort Systems for Low-Load Homes
  3. Optimal Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Solutions

The following are examples of innovative solutions achieved by Building America:

  1. Increased insulation in homes by 50% through alternative construction techniques
  2. Improved the efficiency of home heating and cooling systems by up to 30%
  3. Improved the indoor air quality of homes
  4. High R-value walls
  5. Developed solutions for insulating and sealing attics and basement crawl spaces
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“Building America focuses on available savings opportunities by going beyond equipment efficiency and addressing other key aspects of homes and their systems (e.g., thermal integrity, heating and cooling systems).”
— U.S. Department of Energy


  Rmax is proud to support Habitat for Humanity in hopes of building a better future, one house at a time.

Rmax is proud to support Habitat for Humanity in hopes of building a better future, one house at a time.

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in approximately 70 countries around the world to support people and families in need of a decent and affordable home. 

Habitat is committed to sustainable – or “green” – building, which they define as designing and constructing houses that are efficient and durable, that use fewer resources, are healthy to live in and are affordable. 

Not only does Habitat considers walls fundamental to the ability for a building envelope to effectively insulate, seal air and control moisture, but it also finds foam sheathing to be superior in terms of energy and cost savings, ease of installation and protection against condensation. 

“Habitat defines sustainable building or Green building as providing housing for people with methods and processes that create healthy homes and communities that are less expensive to operate, more durable, and that conserve resources throughout construction and after.”
— Habitat for Humanity