With an increasing focus on sustainable building and environmental practices, energy code requirements in many parts of the country continue to become more stringent.

Because of this, the need for increased R-value at a home's sidewalls is more important than ever. Insulating only the cavity wall leaves up to 25% of the wall area underinsulated by studs, creating a thermal bridge.

A new product from roofing manufacturer GAF is designed to help builders meet these requirements and avoid thermal bridging. Created to add insulation value to the outside of exterior sidewalls while serving as a nailable base for exterior sidewall coverings, ThermaCal wall exterior wall insulation panels help reduce heat loss and cold drive into the living space of a home. They can also help reduce associated energy costs and meet the increased R-value energy code requirements being adopted in certain climate zones, says the firm. They attach to structural exterior sidewalls and can be fastened to outside wall sheathing, metal, or masonry walls.

The panels help eliminate thermal bridging by covering the studs while adding continuous insulation to the rest of the wall. The panels also help minimize heat loss through their exclusive tongue-and-groove design. They are constructed with cut-back sheathing, allowing for precision fit and clearance for sheathing expansion, and can be used on residential or commercial exterior sidewall applications without the need for interior alterations.