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Coosa Panels Help Bring Modern Canal Boat to Life in Georgetown

on Tuesday, 04 August 2020.

The Lady Washington was the very first regularly formed boat on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in 1835. The local newspaper at the time said that it was a “handsomely decorated and ‘trim built’ craft” with a cabin roof painted red and white. The boat was most likely made of white oak and yellow pine, with its name displayed prominently on both sides, and a cargo hold that could carry 800 barrels of flour all the way to Georgetown. 

Now, 185 years after the Lady Washington made headlines, some impressive craftspeople are building a new one for the legendary Chesapeake and Ohio Canal that helped define an era. 

The replica in progress was designed by Tridentis, a naval architecture firm for Georgetown Heritage—the nonprofit working to revitalize historical Georgetown and the one-mile stretch of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. 

Using Coosa Panels for a Longer-Lasting Boat

The main difference between the replica and the original? Instead of oak and pine, the replica is being built out of Coosa panels—lightweight panels of high-density polyurethane foam reinforced with layers of fiberglass. These panels make it so lightweight that it needs ballasts of about 12,000 pounds of lead ingots to keep the battery-powered motors under water. 

There had been a replica before this one that had been on the canal for almost 30 years. But, after undergoing extensive damage over time, it was decommissioned in 2011. It sat in the canal growing mold until Georgetown Heritage and the National Park Service removed it in 2016. Because it was made of wood, it became waterlogged and damaged over time. To reduce maintenance as much as possible, the naval architecture firm went with Coosa panels. 

“They wanted it to last fifty years, with as little updating and overhauling as we can get,” Chris Addington, the project’s program manager, said. “It’s not going to rot, get waterlogged, or deform. It’s going to last for a really long time.” 

Final assembly and water trials are scheduled for this fall, and the boat is meant to make it’s canal debut on March 20, 2021. It will be pulled by mules, just like boats were in 1835. 

For more information and more history, read the full Washington Post article here.

Coosa Panels Can Give You the RV of Your Dreams

on Friday, 19 June 2020.

Over the last several years, RV usage has changed dramatically. While RVs used to be reserved for summer family camping trips, now they’ve become a staple in many people’s lifestyles. Longer, more frequent trips are now the norm, and many people are giving up on excessive space and opting for the adventurous RV lifestyle

This shift has increased the demand for lighter weight vehicles with better fuel mileage. People need more dependable RVs that don’t require as much maintenance as the traditional models. That’s where Coosa Composites comes in. 

Use Coosa for a Stronger, Lighter RV

Coosa composite panels can be used for sub-floors, bathrooms, walls, roofs, ceilings, cabinets, bulkheads, luggage compartments, storage areas, and more! They’re extremely versatile, lightweight, and long-lasting. In addition to having a wide variety of applications, Coosa panels are easy to customize—they can be covered with ceramic tile, laminate, carpeting, wood, rubber non-skid, and more to achieve the design look you want. 

Lifetime Guarantee

Coosa panels will never rot or mold. They don’t absorb water—unlike laminated panels, which invite moisture in the minute a screw is installed. 

Extreme Durability

Our panels are extremely durable, and puncture resistant. They’re made with high-density polyurethane foam, and reinforced with fiberglass layers for a tough, lightweight panel. 


Coosa composite panels are half the weight and twice the insulation of alternative plywood floors. They also serve as a structural core and water barrier all in one—making them the perfect replacement for wood. You can save weight without sacrificing strength. 

Coosa Composite Options

Coosa panels are at the core of the strongest, lightest RVs available right now. We offer two different series and a range of sizes and thicknesses to suit your needs. The thickness of our panels ranges from ¼” to 2” thick. 


Our Bluewater Panels are mainly used for flooring, and are the strongest, stiffest panel, we offer. There are structural panels designed for applications that demand toughness. They’re available in densities 26# and 20#. 

Our Nautical Panels are mainly used for walls, bulkheads, and light structural applications. They’re available in densities 15#, 20#, and 24#. 

Interested in learning more about building your dream RV? Click here, or give us a call.

3 Reasons Electric School Buses Are the Future

on Tuesday, 26 May 2020.

Switching from diesel to electric school buses comes with a lot of benefits—so why are schools shying away from making the change? Electric buses come with a higher price tag, but the truth is that traditional diesel buses cost more to operate in the long run. There are a lot of companies and programs pushing, and helping others push, for electric buses in their cities and school systems. Doing so reduces carbon emissions, helps schools save money over time, and bolsters the power grid with vehicle-to-grid, or V2G, energy storage. 

Reducing Carbon Emissions

Electric vehicles produce less pollution when they’re in operation, but did you know building them produces less pollution too? Mining the necessary materials and manufacturing an electric vehicle’s battery produces less pollution than building vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. 

Dominion Energy, a power company headquartered in Richmond, VA, estimates that replacing one diesel bus with an electric bus will keep 54,000 pounds of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of taking more than five cars—and the pollution they produce—off of the road. If electric buses were fully implemented, it would have the same effect as removing more than 5,000 cars from the road every single year. 

Saving Money

Electric vehicles cost less to own, thanks to them needing less maintenance and running on cheaper “fuel.” Even taking into account the higher upfront cost of purchasing one, it still costs less overall. Certain programs like Dominion Energy’s are making it easier to pay the higher cost up front in order to save money down the road. For example, their program covers the difference in purchase price in order to encourage schools to opt for electric buses. This saves schools even more money, and allows them to make the switch affordably. They can spend up to 60% less in operating expenses for their bus fleet. 

That’s less money spent by taxpayers, and more money invested into students, teachers, educational technology, and school supplies. 

Vehicle-to-Grid Energy Storage

With any major switch like this one, there will be obstacles to overcome. For example, in order for companies like Dominion Energy to increase the amount of electricity they produce through renewable energy sources (like solar and wind), they have to find ways to increase their energy storage capacity as well. This is to account for the inconsistent nature of renewable resources. The vehicles that are perfect candidates for electrification and energy storage are those who don’t need to go long distances between recharges. At first glance, school buses don’t seem like very good candidates—they usually drive in the mid or late afternoon, when there’s high demand for electricity. 

If you look a little closer, however, they’re perfect candidates. This is because the peak demand on electricity is much greater in the summer—because people are home more often and constantly running their air conditioners. Meanwhile, school buses are sitting idly in a garage somewhere. So, why not make them part of the energy storage solution? 

With every bus having a battery bank capable of holding nearly 200 kWh of energy, a fleet of 1,050 buses can store 200 MWh. That’s enough to power 10,000 homes for five hours, with less than an 80% depth of discharge on the batteries. You see, repeatedly drawing more than 80% of a battery’s charge can reduce its life, so it’s important to leave a little in the tank. With all of these practical considerations, it’s clear that electric school buses could serve the V2G purpose.  

The best part is, V2G isn’t meant to provide emergency power during an outage—instead, its purpose is to deliver additional power during peak demand hours. For that purpose, 200 MWh is the perfect amount, making electric school buses the ideal solution. 

Because of their superior properties and weight savings, Coosa Composites’ panels can reduce weight, lower maintenance requirements, and reduce energy consumption of vehicles. Visit our website to learn more, or reach out for more information.

Why Coosa Panels Are More Cost-Effective in the Long Run

on Thursday, 02 April 2020.

Anyone can claim that their products are more cost-effective than their competitors—but we’re here to prove it with real numbers. Keep reading for all the reasons Coosa panels will save you money in the long run. 

The Cost Savings You Get With Coosa Panels

In this example, we’re evaluating the cost savings associated with replacing plywood with Coosa panels in a bus’ sub-floor. We’ve broken it down into real, applicable numbers so you can see the data for yourself. 

On a 45 foot bus, installing a Coosa Composites sub-floor saves 218 to 264 pounds of weight depending on material thickness.  The EPA estimates that for every 100 pounds in reduced weight your fuel economy will increase 1-2%.  In order to offer a conservative view of fuel saved using Coosa Composites instead of plywood in your subfloor, we based our numbers on 1% fuel economy increase per 100 pounds of weight reduction and, used the Federal Transit Administration’s minimum service life for heavy duty vehicles of 12 years. 

The National Academies of Sciences and Engineering take it one step further and differentiates between fuel economy and fuel consumption.  “Fuel economy is a measure of how far a vehicle will go with a gallon of fuel and is expressed in miles per gallon (mpg).  This is the term used by consumers, manufacturers, and regulators to communicate with the public in North America”.  “Fuel consumption is the inverse measure-the amount of fuel consumed in driving a given distance”.  Fuel consumption is an engineering measure that more accurately describes the goal of reducing the amount of fuel needed to drive a particular distance.  The two terms are reciprocal in the fact that if you know one of them you can always determine the other, but they are not linear.  It is the difference in fuel consumption that determines yearly fuel savings, and it’s how we calculate fuel cost savings.   

Using an average of 3.35 mpg and 42,000 miles a year for diesel transit buses, the amount of diesel fuel saved yearly would be between 270 to 346 gallons depending on the subfloor thickness.  At $2.50 per gallon for diesel fuel, a city with a fleet of just 100 buses could save over $10,000 a year or, over $1,000,000 during the lifecycle of the buses.  

This amount of fuel savings can help to substantially lower your carbon footprint. 

Other Ways Coosa Panels Save You Money

Coosa panels also have twice the insulation value of plywood, meaning that heat loss through your bus floor is cut in half. The reduced weight you get with using our panels also means less wear and tear on other parts of the bus, and Coosa panels are maintenance free—meaning there are no maintenance costs. 

Our Bluewater 20 panels, for example, are 45% lighter than plywood—that’s even more fuel cost savings. Some panels, like our Nautical 15 panel, are up to 61% lighter than plywood. Every single one of our panels is made out of strong material that’s built to last. Their water absorption is incredibly low, and there’s absolutely no risk of mold or rot, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them every few years. We all know that replacing plywood every few years can add up fast—Coosa boards pay for themselves relatively quickly. 

Our panels are manufactured by skilled employees in a safe, environmentally friendly facility using the finest polyurethane and fiberglass available. 

To learn more about our panels and how they can save you money, get in touch with us.

Keeping Students Safe: How Coosa Panels Support School Bus Fire Safety

on Friday, 20 March 2020.

When it comes to something as serious as school bus fires, every detail matters. 

During a drill conducted by the NAPT Summit and NASDPTS Conference in 2018, a group of adults took one minute and 18 seconds to evacuate a school bus that had caught fire. When attendees elected to keep their eyes shut (to simulate walking through a smoky bus), they took two minutes and 27 seconds. If you replace these adult volunteers with children, add seat belts, backpacks, and real panic, you can easily see how mere seconds can make a huge difference in this scenario. 

This demonstration was led by Assistant Fire Chief Dan Manely, who also explained to attendees how much school bus fires have changed over the years. Natural materials such as wool and cotton used to be used in buses. Today they are constructed with synthetic materials which liquefy in heat and spread flammable material throughout the bus. Plywood used in the subfloor is the only combustible material that runs continuously from the engine compartment to the rear exit door, providing an uninterrupted path for quick fire spread. In such a confined space with limited exits, the material used in school buses (or any large vehicle for that matter) can be the difference between life and death. 

Plywood boards spread fire 8-10 times farther than a Coosa Composites panel in the same amount of time. Not to mention, a wood subfloor usually lasts only as long as the warranty on the bus, whereas our panels last much longer. Our FR (fire rated) panels meet the ASTM E84, Class A (1) fire rating—a rating developed by the construction industry based on flame and smoke spread. 

While safety is the biggest benefit you get from using Coosa panels in your transportation, other benefits include:

  • Twice the insulation value of wood—keep your students comfortable all year round with material that holds onto heat in the winter and cold in the summer.

  • Never molds—wood subfloors can get wet and hold onto water, eventually molding and rotting and needing replacement. Coosa panels will never rot. 

  • Reduced downstream costs—invest now in something not only safer, but that will save you money down the road. 

Interested in learning more about our panels? Visit our website today. 

New Coosa Composites Website

on Friday, 09 May 2014.

Welcome to our new website.  We will be using this space to let you know more about our prodcuts and how you can use them.  Come back for news about our company, product lines, media, photo galleries of our products in use, and other information.