This sugar care storage facility in San Jose, Costa Rica, won an energy savings award from RIMA.


Relfectix Inc. and Prodex were the winners of the Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association’s “It’s About Saving Energy” Building Award contest.

RIMA says the annual building award contest began in 2008 to recognize building projects that used reflective products in an exceptional way. This year, the contest recognized two categories - residential and metal building. Three judges took on the task of reviewing all the entries and selecting the winners.

Reflectix Inc. of Marrleville, Ind., were the residential building category winner. The company was recognized for a residence built outside the city of Anderson, Ind. The design goal was to use reflective insulation and radiant barriers to enhance the structure’s energy efficiency, resulting in a higher level of interior comfort with reduced heating and air-conditioning costs.

Within the home, there were four target areas where reflective products would be employed: cathedral ceiling, attic, exterior walls and on the outside of the structural wall panels as a house wrap. Five locations within the home’s structure would include either a reflective insulation or radiant barriers.

In the metal building category, the winner was Prodex of San Jose, Costa Rica.

The project was for the Sugar Cane Industry League of Costa Rica. The customer required its five-acre sugar storage to have a minimum humidity and temperature level. Sugar can turn brown when exposed to temperatures higher than 86ºF and can coagulate with high humidity levels.

The ambient temperature at the spot is extreme and can easily get up to 100ºF and humidity levels of 90 percent can occur. In the mornings, when the outside temperature can be down to 50ºF and the inside temperature of the storage is still higher, there will be condensation on the walls and this can damage the sugar.

Controlling this size of storage in such an environment by air-conditioning is nearly impossible due to energy costs. Engineers recommended creating a total building envelope using AD10 - 10 millimeters of polyethylene foam with aluminum foil on both sides - in the roof as well as the walls. AD10 has great properties as a vapor retarder and it has a very high and constant thermal resistance, officials said. Those two characteristics will avoid the inside vapor from coming to its dew point and condensing on the walls.

An extra added value of the AD10 is its firmness, which serves well as a surface finish in the roof as well as the walls. It was applied on a standing-seam roof in such a way it created air chambers with convection for optimal thermal resistance. The rolls were attached together to create a continuous vapor barrier and thermal protection without thermal bridges.

When finished, the project was evaluated and temperature measurements were done. The external temperature taken on various spots on the metal surface was 102ºF, the inside temperature on the surface of the AD10 was never above 82ºF. This year the client was visited again and it was found that the insulation was still perfectly in place. The client was satisfied and there were no cases of coagulated or colored sugar.