A2P’s GreenGirt improves thermal efficiency
Hamilton-based company’s product 16 years in making reduces HVAC costs to heat and cool buildings.
Since working on a project in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the 1980s, Matt Krause has searched for a way to insulate walls for thermal efficiency.
Krause’s family business on the east side of the state performed cladding work across the country, and as an engineer within the firm, Krause felt the solution in Alaska was “just good science” to help the building perform more efficiently in 70-degrees-below-zero weather.
“There was no code or anything, I just anticipated it and solved it,” Krause said. “But that got me thinking that there needed to be a universal solution to work for everyone, so I would work on the side trying to optimize a design for that.”
As the years passed, Krause continued to work with his family but also worked with some software startups and licensed technologies he developed through his engineering and software mindset. In 2004, he moved to West Michigan, spinning off a cladding business of his own. Working for himself, Krause found more time to refine his ideas and created GreenGirt.
“I’ve been in the construction industry for years and engineering solutions and making cows fly,” Krause said. “I kept doing these solutions, and I wanted to come up with a solution done one time so everyone can use it, rather than continuous niche solutions.”
In 2013, he launched a second company, Advanced Architectural Products, to focus on GreenGirt and SMARTci, a “complete insulation solution.”
A2P won the 2015 EXPI award for sustainable construction and innovation at the West Michigan Design & Construction Expo in October for GreenGirt.
GreenGirt joins a building’s cladding and insulation to the structure as an insulated sub-framing component. It’s the first steel and fiber reinforced polymer designed to eliminate thermal bridging from metal-to-metal connections in construction. Krause said the system makes buildings more than 90 percent thermally efficient.
“Essentially, in a nutshell, it makes a building twice as efficient as traditional buildings by thermal measures,” Krause said. “It’s a market disruptor and changes the way people do things. It’s a faster, cheaper way to build a building.”
Krause said the system replaces traditional building materials which create “thermal short circuits,” where metal goes from the outside to the inside, conducting the temperature.
Together, the A2P system helps a building owner in several ways, Krause said.
As a building’s thermal efficiencies increase, HVAC costs to heat and cool the building decrease.
“If you can cut that bill in half, you save a lot of money,” he said.
Krause said traditional building materials offer a lot of cold spots because of connections to the exterior, which creates opportunities for moisture. Moisture in walls can result in mold.
Contractors often are leery of unproven materials, so Krause said the product is made from components contractors have used since the 1960s and 1970s but are put together in a new way.
The first project A2P’s system was used on was a school renovation and addition project in Jackson. On the renovation portion, it was placed over the existing block walls, then on new studs in the addition and was finished with spray insulation and cladding over the top.
Later in the 2013, A2P products were used in a new airport in Qatar and now have since been used in 35 states across the country, including projects at Purdue University, Stanford University and the Washington-based rocket company Blue Origins.
Krause said since the “soft launch” in 2013, the company’s sales have more than tripled each year.
The materials are universal, he said, and are put together into custom packages for each project from nine profile models.
He said the product was in development for more than 16 years before its launch, and now, he’s ready to ramp up its use across the globe from his Hamilton headquarters. The company currently has 50 employees, but he said that’s changing every week.
“We want to ensure the best application for every project and success for our customers,” he said. “We’re filling the former Pet Life Building back up and shipping products across the country. It’s neat to see.”