Saving energy one form at a time

The Energy Edge is a stay-in-place system used to form and insulate slabs-on-grade.
The Energy Edge is a stay-in-place system used to form and insulate slabs-on-grade.

Sometimes, contractors are exposed to new products because they are spec'd in on a project. And sometimes, after that first job, contractors are so pleased with that new product they choose to use it for future jobs. This was the case when Sauerwein Construction Co., Inc. first used the Energy Edge form.

Energy Edge is an insulating, stay-in-place form made of polyvinyl filled with rigid insulation. The system provides insulation for the edges of slabs-on-grade. According to results of an ENERCOMP study reported on the Energy Edge website, its product can reduce heating fuel consumption 7 percent to 11 percent for homeowners living in the central latitudes of the United States.

Sauerwein Construction, a general contractor in Wichita, Kan., recently won a bid on an 8,800-square-foot elementary school addition in which Energy Edge was specified for slab insulation. It was the first time the company used the product, says Rudi Sauerwein, vice president and project manager for Sauerwein, so the Energy Edge supplier showed the Sauerwein crews the proper way to place and use the forms.

Before Energy Edge was placed, Sauerwein Construction installed footings with the use of an electronic laser level. "Footings and foundations need to be as level as possible," Sauerwein says. "This makes it easier to anchor the Energy Edge form braces."

Once the footings were finished it took Sauerwein Construction a couple of days to set up the forms, which snap together.

Since the ground and footings could not be made completely level, Sauerwein decided to brace the exterior of the forms to ensure they remained straight. "Being our first time using it, we wanted just a little extra insurance so it would remain straight. So we went through at various locations and installed some bracing on the outside," Sauerwein says.

After forming the addition, Voegeli Construction of Wichita poured and finished the concrete slab.

The research Sauerwein did before the project combined with what the company learned about the benefits of the stay-in-place insulation form convinced Sauerwein that this was a product he wanted to use on all future slabs-on-grade. "It's just like forming any other slab-on-grade with better end results," he says.

Sauerwein adds that being able to conserve the energy that would normally be lost through a slab that is not insulated is important. "Anything we can be doing as contractors to help with energy consumption is important," he says.

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