Years ago, when today’s seniors were buying their first homes, the concept of green building had not yet been born. But now seniors in Tell City, Indiana, will experience the benefits of going green first hand as residents of River Pointe, a new, affordable senior apartment community built to rigorous National Green Building Standard (NGBS) requirements. CertainTeed’s SoftTouch™ duct wrap insulation will play a role in delivering that experience, as 24,000 square feet of the product has been installed.

River Pointe is a new, four-story, affordable apartment community for seniors, including 40 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 10 top-floor condominium residences, 8,000 square feet of retail space, and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Ohio River. The building is a key element in the revival of Tell City’s Seventh Street Corridor, an area that includes restaurants and shops along the river front.

Designed by the architectural and development firm of Myszak+Palmer, River Pointe meets the comprehensive requirements necessary to achieve the NGBS Silver certification. This national rating system recognizes construction practices that improve the living environment for residents, while reducing the project’s environmental impacts. To achieve the certification, projects must meet green building requirements in lot design, preparation, and development; resource efficiency; energy efficiency; water efficiency; and indoor environmental quality.


According to Myszak+Palmer President Andy Myszak, “As a company, we are committed to building to the NGBS Silver certification as our minimum standard. We look for products that can support that goal. CertainTeed SoftTouch insulation was specified for that reason.”

SoftTouch delivered for Myszak+Palmer on multiple fronts. “SoftTouch contributed to our objectives for energy efficiency, reduced VOCs, lower operating costs, and comfort for River Pointe residents,” said Myszak.


SoftTouch is a sustainable product that meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Recovered Material Guidelines for fiberglass products with 20-25 percent of content consisting of pre-consumer and post-consumer glass cullet. SoftTouch fibers are bound together using organic, plant-based binder systems that provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to some phenolic type binders. Most significantly, SoftTouch is formaldehyde-free, an advantage in healthy IAQ, as well as in ease of handling.


One of the hot topics of discussion in the sustainable design arena today is IAQ — how healthy the indoor air is for building occupants. IAQ problems arise in buildings whenever chemical or biological contaminants accumulate to levels that have a negative impact on the comfort or health of occupants. For buildings that will be occupied by sensitive populations, including older adults, IAQ is especially important because these individuals may already be suffering with respiratory illnesses or have weakened immune systems. Poor IAQ can aggravate these underlying issues.

CertainTeed SoftTouch contributes to healthy indoor air in two ways. Because it is formaldehyde-free, SoftTouch will not emit dangerous gas into the building environment. At the performance level, SoftTouch fiberglass duct wrap prevents condensation build up on metal HVAC ducts. By controlling condensation, SoftTouch helps prevent the growth of harmful mold and microbes that can contribute to health problems in sensitive populations.

The Greenguard Environmental Institute’s Greenguard Certification program sets standards for low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions for building products and materials. Products that have achieved Greenguard Certification are scientifically proven to meet some of the world’s most rigorous, third-party chemical emissions standards — helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure while aiding in the creation of healthier indoor environments. CertainTeed SoftTouch has earned Greenguard Gold certification, meeting the organization’s more stringent criteria for IAQ in schools, health care facilities, and other environments where children and sensitive adults spend extended periods of time.


As an affordable living option for Tell City seniors, River Pointe was designed to deliver that benefit through more than just the cost of rent. “Residents will have the advantage of highly energy efficient heating and cooling systems that are less costly to operate,” noted Myszak. “This will translate to lower utility bills. By preventing unwanted heat loss or gain from ductwork, CertainTeed SoftTouch duct wrap will contribute to improved HVAC system performance and reduced energy costs.”


SoftTouch duct wrap offers additional advantages in R-value reliability as well as ease of handling. Frederick Sheet Metal Inc., a fifth-generation, family-owned business in Tell City, Indiana, was the installer of the SoftTouch insulation at River Pointe. Brandon Mosby, an installer with Frederick, noted that he prefers fiberglass insulation to reflective insulation, sometimes referred to as “bubble wrap.” According to Mosby, “Reflective insulation requires installation with spacers and it must be sealed. We often see this product installed incorrectly, which eliminates all of the insulation properties. That’s not a problem with fiberglass.” Mosby also noted that because it contains fewer chemicals, SoftTouch duct wrap insulation is more comfortable to handle. “It has a less scratchy feel compared to other fiberglass products,” he said.


According to Andy Myszak, the trend toward green building is one that is not only growing, but becoming the standard. “As a company, we are committed to earning the NGBS Silver certification or higher on every building we design,” he said. “We actively look for products that can help us reach those goals.”

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Publication date: 6/20/2016

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