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Sealed "N" Safe Thermal Block System

   Author: Craig Oberg

Over the years, energy conservation has become more important to each of us for a variety of reasons. Whether it is due to the cost of gasoline or the cost of heating our homes, managing and conserving energy is becoming a global concern.

In the new building arena, tax incentives are being used to influence people’s decisions to build a more energy-efficient building. In the Federal government, legislation is pending that would require even more strict energy codes. Some 30 or 40 years ago, the housing industry made a major advancement with added insulation systems and still is very active in improving those methods. In the commercial and industrial sectors, we have lagged behind in our efforts to achieve energy efficiency. In the same 30 years, we must have built billions of square footages of inefficiencies. All to often, building owners are more concerned with the “bottom line cost” of their project and fail to factor in the cost savings of using more energy efficient means of construction. The time has come to re-evaluate our way of thinking in the metal building industry.

In my opinion, the pre-engineered metal building industry is facing a unique situation. We are for the most part, the lowest construction costs per square foot and could be the most energy efficient means of construction available, yet we are not. If you combine the lowest cost per square foot and the most energy efficient methods available today, metal buildings would still be the most cost effective means of construction. Why wouldn’t we want to be more energy efficient? That could be the very key to the success in the industry for years to come. To me, that offers some very exciting possibilities for our whole industry.

A well-known problem in saving energy in metal buildings is the thermal transfer of energy through the purlins. When roof sheets are installed over the insulation of a building, the insulation is compressed where the sheets and the purlins are screwed together. Thus creating the thermal transfer of energy through the purlins. Notice the photo taken on a cool spring morning.

This building was only about 45 degrees inside at the time of the photo. It also has a 4” fiberglass blanket for roof insulation. The morning dew has evaporated much faster over the purlin location than between the purlins. The evidence of energy loss exists in all weather condition. In a light snow or heavy snow, melting occurs significantly sooner over the purlins, regardless of the insulation system used. The same energy loss occurs in warm or hot climates except in reverse, the cooling is lost at the purlin. The greatest energy lost is at the purlin location. The effort to overcome this energy loss is what the Sealed “N” Safe Thermal Block System is all about.

The Sealed ”N” Safe Thermal Block System has a patented design using polyurethane foam injected between two metal plates designed to resist the forces induced by a typical roof loads of a metal building. Thermal blocks are placed over the top of the purlins and are attached by two flat head screws. The insulation blanket and the roof sheets are placed over the thermal block. Once the roof sheet is in place, a special designed fastener is placed through the roof sheet, insulation, and thermal block into the purlin below. The design of the screw creates a “stitch” type joint between the roof sheet and the thermal block creating a watertight seal while fastening the whole assembly tightly to the purlin. The fastening process is very much like a typical screw down roof. The only additional step is to set the thermal block in place with two flat head screws. Generally the thermal blocks can be installed without any further design considerations. Strapping, blocking, etc is not required. That saves you time and money in the field.

Use of the Sealed “N” Safe Thermal Block System also extends the life of the roof sheet and purlin by reducing or even eliminating condensation under the roof sheet at the purlin location. It is compliant with the 2006 and 2009 International Energy Code. It can be a large factor in achieving the Energy Savings required by the US Dept of Energy to qualify for tax credits. Current Test Data is available at along with other product information.

Being energy efficient is the name of the game. We can either be forced or we can be pro-active in adopting new ways of being energy efficient. With an extra simple step in the installation process, Sealed “N” Safe’s Thermal Block System is the best place to start saving energy with a minimal cost.

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