The Nirvana insulated panel system from Reid Construction Systems effectively addresses the sustainability issues associated with precast concrete and incorporates the support of Reid’s engineering expertise, design services and unparalleled on-site support. This is particularly important at a time when there is a focus on energy efficiency and building energy ratings. Precast concrete is a versatile building material and when incorporated with Reid’s graphic concrete creates beauty in construction, while meeting the objectives of energy efficiency.
The combination of high R-value from the insulation and the internal concrete walls’ thermal mass effect flattens out temperature fluctuations, maintaining an indoor environment within accepted comfort levels. The resultant reduction in heating and cooling required for Nirvana buildings reduces the size of capital equipment and operational costs.
First cast is a structural concrete wall that is typically 150–200 mm thick, which provides all structural support for the building. A layer of insulation is then attached to its external face, sandwiched between an additional external concrete layer (“wythe” is typically 50 mm thick) protecting it from mechanical abuse. Nirvana’s unique connector pins tie the system together, spanning the middle insulation layer and each “pin head” is embedded 50 mm into the concrete wythe. Being the larger of the two concrete masses, the structural wall forms the internal surface of the building envelope, taking advantage of concrete’s “thermal mass.” The internal concrete wall acts as a huge heat storage vessel, with insulation preventing excess heat from entering or leaving as external temperatures fluctuate. This thermal mass acts to maintain the air temperature at a similar temperature to its own. By minimizing fluctuations in it, temperature is maintained at a consistent and comfortable level.