“The insulation is pretty much off the charts,” he said. “They’re actually shutting down refrigeration between noon and 6.”
By doing so, California Vegetable Specialties can avoid the higher-priced Pacific Gas & Electric peak electricity rates.
The walls are composed of two layers of foam panels, between which expanding polyurethane foam is injected.
Then about 3 inches of concrete is applied to both sides of the wall.
Not only does this help maintain more stable humidity and temperature inside, but it also has a lifespan of at least 200 years and an earthquake seismic rating similar to those of police departments and hospitals, Burda said.
Concrete envelope design isn’t new and has been used since 1994 on a handful of wineries, Burda said. In those structures, straw bales provided about R-87 insulation.
This is the first time foam has been used, “and it worked like a charm,” he said.
The energy savings will pay off the building in about 15 years, Burda said.