Meet Changing Energy Codes at No Additional Cost with Tilt-Up

As our country moves toward more sustainable building construction, energy codes are becoming stricter with new provisions such as continuous insulation and air barrier testing.

So how does tilt-up construction measure up to other building methods for meeting new IECC and ASHRAE energy codes? Jim Baty with the Tilt-up Concrete Association (TCA) provides an in-depth review of tilt-up wall panels compared to other building systems for new R-value and U-value requirements in a recent article in Tilt-Up Today.

Jim summarizes his review by saying, “The advantages of a tilt-up concrete system are quickly realized in the high-quality air barrier, the amount of thermal mass and the ease of providing continuous insulation. More simply, far less insulation is required than other building systems.”

And, it isn’t only the TCA who is recognizing the inherent benefits of tilt-up construction.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently completed a study of the whole building air barrier testing for 200 newly constructed buildings. The study tested wall envelope construction types including concrete tilt-up, pre-engineered metal, concrete masonry, and wood or light-gage framed. The results found that tilt-up provided the tightest envelope in the USACE study, achieving measured leakage 600% better than the minimum acceptable level.

As other envelope systems are sure to see added costs to meet the new energy code provisions, tilt-up will continue to offer a high-performing thermal, moisture and air barrier system as it has since its inception.


  1. Gentlemen:

    Masonry and tilt-up construction are often competitors, but energy performance of buildings is one area where we could effectively work together to promote the benefits of mass wall construction. The differences in our construction methods often mask the similarities of our wall systems, which both utilize mass materials, water-resistant insulation, and incorporate effective air barriers. Our wall systems are inherently fire resistant and resilient to many natural and man-made disasters.

    I am working on several projects designed to demonstrate the superior energy performance of mass wall systems, compared to light-frame construction. I would invite a mutually beneficial dialog with anyone in TCA that is working it that area.

    John Swink, PE, LEED-AP
    Acme Brick Company

  2. David Tomasula says:


    Thanks for your response. I agree that mass walls with a continuous insulation envelope on the outside provide superior energy performance in comparison to light-framed construction. I will be sure to share your message with our colleagues at the TCA.


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