475 High Performance Building Supply is proud to be the supplier of INTELLO Plus intelligent vapor retarder membrane and other Pro Clima products for a newly opened Assisted Living Facility in Mashpee, MA. According to their website, “Bridges® by EPOCH at Mashpee continues our commitment to providing the highest-quality senior living experience and care exclusively for those with Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.” The facility was designed by JSA Architects in Portsmouth NH, and Cranshaw Construction was the general contractor.
Health and Comfort
It goes without saying that health and comfort are the main objectives of any medical facility. Unfortunately, these goals aren’t necessarily achieved in practice. How many of us have experienced so-called “state-of-the-art” facilities, never mind the drafty windows, mediocre ventilation and poorly insulated walls – to name just a few problems? One explanation is that medical buildings are often built with the same leaky – or leakier – stick built construction as our homes, offices and so much else. Hence, they are part of a national pandemic of thermal discomfort, moisture problems, mold and related health maladies. Some of the blame can be attributed to lax building codes with loopholes that encourage leakiness and discomfort. For instance, while one part of the commercial code requires air sealing to a perfectly achievable (and reasonably airtight) 0.40 cfm/ft2, alternate compliance paths essentially undo any benefits.
If our building codes fail us, it’s up to architects and builders to voluntarily aspire to higher standards. By specifying the INTELLO Plus airtight system, JSA Architects made a design decision to go beyond code minimum airtightness and vapor control. In doing so they’ve put Alzheimer’s patients, along with their loved ones and caregivers, at the top of the priority list. INTELLO Plus provides a number of important high performance benefits that can help raise the standard for indoor air quality and thermal comfort in medical buildings like this one:
- Instead of sitting next to drafty and poorly insulated walls, patients will be comfortable (read here how the Pro Clima airtight system makes walls airtight and optimizes insulation performance).
- Instead of risking exposure to mold in walls with high moisture levels, patients will enjoy the benefits of dry, mold-free walls (read here how INTELLO’s “smart” vapor control keeps walls dry year-round).
- Fresh ventilation air ducted to each room will provide healthy indoor air quality inside the airtight enclosure (read here about the benefits of the Lunos heat recovery ventilation system).
- INTELLO Plus achieves robust air and vapor control without resorting to toxic foam insulation in these sensitive environments (read here how foam fails).
For this project, the insulation contractor Atlas Insulation elected to first densepack fiberglass insulation behind an air permeable netting, then roll the insulation flat before covering with INTELLO Plus. While somewhat more work intensive than our recommendation to densepack directly behind the INTELLO Plus, some contractors prefer this approach if they are less familiar with INTELLO Plus. After stapling INTELLO Plus to the studs, seams were taped with TESCON Vana. Lessco airtight electrical boxes were also taped to the INTELLO Plus at all switches and outlets. INTELLO was installed all the way to the airtight sheathing at the roof – including around dropped ceilings – to ensure a continuous airtight layer. Finally, CONTEGA HF caulk adhesive was used for a flexible airtight joint between the INTELLO Plus and the concrete slab.
475’s New England sales consultant Oliver Klein was available throughout the design and construction process to help with technical recommendations and smooth the adoption of the Pro Clima systems.
Peace of Mind
From the Bridges by EPOCH website: “While many memory care assisted living communities are unable to care for those whose memory loss has progressed, Bridges® by EPOCH at Mashpee can continue to provide a home and care no matter the stage. Our age in place philosophy helps residents avoid the trauma and stress often associated with moving to another community and offers peace of mind to their families. Perhaps the best benefit, your loved one remains in the care of those they’ve grown to know and trust.”
We hope that this facility helps usher in a new paradigm of health and comfort for all of our assisted living facilities – but especially for the growing needs of Alzheimer’s care giving.