With changing climates and client expectations, it’s time for builders and designers to think green. Here are 5 proven sustainable design strategies to implement in your next new build or retrofitting project.
Resource Type: Article
Building above grade is tough enough, but below grade? It is the most difficult space to get right. Not only does a basement hold the building up; it must keep groundwater, soil gas, and water vapor out, while keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
Finally, a below-grade dimpled membrane that contributes to high-performance building compliance. Demonstrating market leadership in the growing movement towards product transparency and health in the built environment, DELTA®-MS is the first, and only, below-grade dimpled membrane to obtain a Red List Free Declare label with the Living Building Challenge (LBC) International Living Future […]
When it comes to below-grade moisture protection, cold weather and snow limit the use of any fluid-applied application. This can be avoided by selecting a better below-grade wall waterproofing solution that is designed specifically with cold climates in mind.
One of the most reliable ways of keeping walls dry and allowing them to dry out if they do get wet, is to construct the wall with an outer shell – also known as a rainscreen. A rainscreen is defined as an assembly applied to an exterior wall which consists of, at minimum, an out […]
Effectively waterproofing commercial foundations requires an understanding of the materials you’re using, and the science behind them all. Here are 6 essentials you should know.
Successfully navigating air barrier details, like tricky transitions and interfaces, differentiates a reliable, high-performance air barrier from an ineffective one.
Brick, stone, and stucco are proven claddings…except when they are not. They used to be, but not anymore. What changed? A bunch of things – one of which was/is the effect of inward vapor drive. Inward vapor drive is an issue where a “reservoir” cladding is located on the exterior of a wall assembly. What […]
The fundamental principles of groundwater control are to keep rainwater away from the foundation wall perimeter and to drain groundwater with sub-grade drainage and perimeter drains before it gets to the foundation wall. Nothing has changed in several millennia. Let’s look at the groundwater part. For groundwater, there are two things that need to happen […]
Building a custom home comes with high expectations from clients. It requires quality craftsmanship, meticulous attention to detail, and professionals with relentless passion.
Gavin Semrow, founder of Ai Restoration, is partnering with Dörken to help aid in the remediation process and educate building professionals on the dangers of improper stucco and manufactured stone cladding installation.
As the new year gets underway, we thought we’d take a moment to look back at 2019 to see who caught our attention and stood out for their impact on the building community.
Fifty+ years ago when we built homes, the only way we could protect them was to use “tar paper,” which is basically a version of tar-impregnated paper that contained asphalt. While these did the trick at the time, they were used mainly to prevent wind from getting through the home. What’s funny is that nostalgia […]
When builders think of ultraviolet (UV) rays, they don’t just consider the effects sun exposure has on their skin. They’re also thinking about the effect UV rays have on the homes they build.
More than 80 per cent of premature building deterioration is the result of moisture damage resulting from the dissolution of materials, reduction in effectiveness of insulation, and more. For this reason, building industry professionals know the importance of moisture control methods.
Running behind schedule has an impact on more than your bottom line: it exposes building materials to harsh environmental conditions for longer than they are engineered to withstand. UV damage is a real issue with real consequences – yet it’s an issue that often gets overlooked
If you haven’t experienced the gross inconvenience and expense of a leaky basement, count yourself lucky. If you have, you know it is not something that can just be ignored in hopes it will go unnoticed or perhaps “fix itself.” Basement leaks can either be slow and steady, gradually seeping into a dwelling over days, […]
Stucco and manufactured stone have been used in the building industry for ages. These claddings are well known, and well used for their leading properties in fire resistance, durability, and aesthetics. In fact, according to the Census Bureau’s recent Survey of Construction, 25% of homes built in the US in 2017 used stucco cladding; second […]
Dr. John Straube is a highly regarded building science expert, well-known for his research, his consulting work, and his leadership as an educator. He is a Principal at RDH Building Science and a faculty member at the University of Waterloo. This past year, Dr. Straube discussed key building enclosure concepts (including moisture control, airtightness, and […]
Air barriers are no longer just a passing consideration. They are not only federally mandated, but also demanded by code-conscious and sustainability-oriented building owners and occupants who are in the know. For good reason, too. A high-performing air barrier means greater comfort at a lesser cost. Based on simulations, the National Institute of Standards and […]
Today, many builders are increasingly leaning towards green construction. According to Canadian study World Green Building Trends 2018, 35% of Canadian firms who participated in the study report that more than 60% of their projects are green, and by 2021 the number of firms to achieve this is expected to rise to 48%. What’s interesting is […]
Builder Emily Press used a peel and stick house wrap for the first time, and shares her experience with The Build Show’s Matt Risinger.
In a previous article, we discussed the North American building code requirements for sheathing membranes and their function as water-resistive barriers (WRB). This third and last article of the blog series will uncover the additional, critical role of sheathing membranes as air barriers. Sheathing membranes that act as air barriers are typically of the polymeric […]
In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, we looked at what sheathing membranes are and how they are used in exterior wall assemblies. To recap, these membranes typically consist of thin sheet materials placed on the exterior side of the sheathing board in exterior wall assemblies. The function of the membranes is to resist […]
When it comes to maintaining a building’s integrity and longevity, protecting the building from factors that contribute to moisture-related issues is key. How do moisture-related issues materialize to begin with? According to research, wind-driven rain on a building’s façade is considered one of the largest sources of moisture2 and, most commonly, moisture is the number […]
Dr. John Straube is a highly regarded building science expert, well known for his research, his consulting work, and his leadership as an educator. He is a Principal at RDH Building Science and a faculty member at the University of Waterloo. This past year, Dr. Straube discussed key building enclosure concepts (including moisture control, airtightness, […]
Choosing a sheathing membrane can be challenging. But as Graham Finch explains, they’re necessary as they play a key role in exterior wall assemblies.
Today, people think about basements a little bit differently than in the past. While the idea of turning a basement into a livable and comfortable space seems like a necessity, it used to be the opposite. In the past, basements were merely used for storage purposes or were simply left unfinished. Now, the expectation among […]
You would think that after a half century the physics of wall design would be obvious, straightforward and non-controversial. Apparently not. Folks latch onto concepts that are partially true…true in a limited sense…without appreciation of the range of applicability. As Dirty Harry Callahan would say…a wall has got to know its limitations. There has been […]
When I first started doing blower door tests 15 years ago, I was full of bravado, thinking I had a pretty tight house. I was using a good house wrap and taping the seams, and I was paying my insulation and drywall contractor extra to include “air-sealing measures.” I thought “No problem. I should be […]
The best way to protect high-risk moisture environments – for walls and roofs It does not get any riskier than constructing an enclosure over an indoor swimming pool. Except maybe an enclosure over a pressurized and humidified hospital. Or, how about an enclosure over a conditioned museum designed by a famous architect who is incapable […]
Save the Stucco! Stucco has been around a very long time – since the time of the Sumerians about 4,500 years ago… give or take a century. Good luck finding a Sumerian today to ask about the finishing plaster coat they applied over brick that became stucco. You think after 4 or 5 millennia we […]
If there’s anything that will convince people of a building product’s worthiness, it’s when the pros use it in their own homes – where they’re free to make unilateral decisions, based on their own expertise and preferences. So you can imagine our excitement when Dr. John Straube chose our air- and water-resistive barrier for his new […]
How to fix a leaky basement without digging a hole, adding an exterior drain, or re-landscaping One of the most difficult issues to deal with as a landlord or a homeowner is a leaking foundation or basement wall. You go through a whole bunch of stages, much like grief counseling. First is denial that it […]
Tall buildings require a robust air barrier design strategy to withstand higher air pressures from wind, stack effect, and mechanical systems.
Building tighter, energy-efficient homes has come with both benefits and risks. As we’ve seen over time, increased airtightness improves energy efficiency, but it also risked producing mold and rot without the proper control of moisture vapor. The key to solving this issue is to allow moisture to dry out. A housewrap (also known as a […]
The Build Show’s Matt Risinger shares some of his stucco failures, and how you can avoid the same fate with his proven step-by-step stucco installation method.
You choose a dimple mat based on decent specs, and it appears to be of good quality – but how can you know if the product you’ve chosen is truly up for the job?
Confusion between air barriers and vapor barriers is common. We’ve simplified the differences between the types of barriers to clarify some misconceptions.
One of the philosophies we subscribe to here is wrapped up in the idea of doing something because we should, not just because we have to. Do we work hard to ensure our products meet code? Of course. But do we stop there? Of course not. The latest example of both our commitment to the […]
Wet basements aren’t only bad for homeowners, they’re bad for business. From occupant discomfort and health risks due to mould and mildew to expensive material damage, foundation moisture has become one of the biggest headaches in homebuilding. When moisture makes an unwanted appearance in a foundation, people automatically look to their contractors to correct it […]
[easy-tweet tweet=”The Role of Air Barriers and Continuous Insulation in an Age of Green Construction ” user=”PeterBarrett_” hashtags=”#greenbuilding” url=”http://bit.ly/2gD099S”] The role of air barriers and continuous insulation is multi-faceted and increasingly important in an age of green construction. Air/moisture barriers and continuous insulation are now mainstream building systems that address the demands of more stringent building […]
Is the DELTA®-VENT SA Air Barrier or ZIP System® Sheathing Better for Energy-Efficient, Green Construction?
We compare the popular ZIP and DELTA®-VENT SA systems to see which offers more energy efficiency and long-lasting performance.
To improve building air tightness, a continuous air barrier is key. And when it comes to continuity, a self-adhered air barrier is hard to beat.
The dream of constructing a tunnel 1.4 miles beneath Switzerland’s Gotthard mountain range arose shortly after World War II. Now, that dream has become a reality. On June 29, 2016 the inauguration of the Gotthard Base Tunnel invoked thoughts of Hannibal crossing the Swiss Alps 2,200 years ago. Of course, this route runs under, not over, the […]
Only proper capillary breaks on footings, created with the use of a membrane, can stop groundwater from damaging basement foundations.
There are a number of reasons why you need an air and moisture barrier over foam sheathing. Airtight exterior wall systems are critical to maximizing energy efficiency and gaining LEED points. However, certain characteristics of foam sheathing conspire to compromise airtight construction. The solution? Use foam sheathing together with a high-performing, moisture-resistive air barrier. As building codes […]
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is an independent verification method that recognizes green building performance. LEED certified buildings are generally assumed to be more energy-efficient than standard structures. LEED® certification can enhance a building’s value, generate higher commercial lease rates and reduce utility costs. By 2018, it is estimated that LEED-certified buildings will contribute almost $30 […]
High-quality house wrap is most often made of spun, high-density polyethylene fibers. It is a vapor-permeable material designed to simultaneously block the passage of liquid. Properly installed, it’s a WRB with the ability to resist moisture while allowing humidity to escape from exterior wall cavities, which is of particular importance in humid climates. However, unforeseen […]
On the surface, air barrier sheathing products like the ZIP System® and others, seem like a great product. One product that takes the place of two. The sheathing and taping purportedly eliminates the need for an air/moisture wrap or barrier because it is built-in to the sheathing. However, especially in today’s green building environment, it […]
The aesthetically pleasing nature of zinc and copper cladding attracts architects looking to unite durability, sustainability and creative expression. High-end metal cladding provides a dramatic and eye-catching contrast to other materials, including brick, glass, wood and concrete. High End Metal Cladding and Its Benefits Both metals are popular for use in metal cladding because they […]
Inevitably, thermal bridging is an adversary in the quest for energy-efficient buildings. Continuous insulation bolstered by a moisture barrier is a powerful weapon in the battle. Rising energy costs and a definite move toward green building accentuate the need to corral the problem of thermal bridging. Thermal bridging typically occurs in 3 ways One material […]
Sometimes it feels really good to complain, and there is just a bit to complain about when it comes to what’s holding back green construction. But all the complaining in the world won’t fix things; that’s why we’ve identified the five most frustrating parts of this aspect of the construction industry and how some states have dealt […]
Although an affordable mortgage payment is the major concern for new homebuyers, people are paying closer attention to what it will cost to heat and cool their new residence. Whether they are in the market for an existing home or building or buying a new house, consumers can use HERS Ratings to make an informed decision before […]
It is an exciting time in a family’s life when they move into a newly constructed home. Unfortunately, when mold also moves in due to faulty construction or faulty product manufacturing, the dream can turn into a litigation nightmare, as they can take legal action against the builder.
When prominent people in building design and innovation showcase the energy savings of their Net Zero buildings, they raise public awareness and enthusiasm. For many, Net Zero in a functioning building looks easy; however, the task of incorporating all the design and physical elements is a complex undertaking. Homebuilders who want to participate in the growing […]
Comfortable, dry basements add significant project and property value for builders. Here are five ways to ensure your below-grade spaces stay warm and dry.
A homebuilder’s biggest priority is to create a comfortable and dry home. However, keeping a home dry is not simple: engineers and architects spend much of their building planning on keeping water out, or letting it dry or drain when it comes come in. By focusing on water and its movement, builders can implement a […]
Building tenants are understandably concerned over the quality of the interior space that they occupy. The comfort and integrity of the building will be enhanced if a high performance air barrier is incorporated in the building envelope. A good air barrier provides a separation between the conditioned interior space of the building and the uncontrolled […]
Basements are known to have particular problems: they are often found to be damp, humid, and even occasionally flooded. Once moisture has intruded, it can be difficult to treat the problem. Moreover, these conditions make basements vulnerable to mold. Even common solutions, such as using a dehumidifier, can increase foundation issues and prolong the problem […]
As more and more homeowners and homebuilders seek energy efficient structures, residential codes are responding. As we’ve seen from the standards set in the 2012 and 2015 versions of the International Energy Conservation Code, air tightness standards are significantly higher in order to address energy efficiency. Though currently only nine states have adopted the 2012 IECC and […]
While similar in name, there are critical differences builders, architects and designers need to understand between vapor barriers vs. vapor retarders.
Without proper ventilation and drainage, moisture can accumulate between the water-resistive barrier and siding of a building. A rainscreen separates the cladding from the building, allowing drainage and moisture evaporation. Ventilated rainscreens are a support system in the building envelope that separates the cladding from the building, allowing for proper ventilation and drainage. It does […]
If a homeowner’s new construction home is showing moisture-related issues in the basement, it’s a costly mistake to repair. Naturally, it’ll lead back to the builder as the owners will want some form of remediation or coverage.
For many years, the upfront cost of metal roofing was probably the single biggest objection from business owners and building managers when considering what material should top new construction. Within the last decade, however, focus has shifted to sustainability and the lowering of carbon footprints in all types of construction. The many benefits of […]
From the process of evolution from single-cellular organisms to multi-system lifeforms, two things have remained consistent as being the most destructive forces on the planet: water and sunlight. Ironically, the two most destructive forces on Earth are also two essential elements that life needs to exist. On a cellular level, the UV radiation in sunlight […]
There are a number of things you can do when designing and constructing a building to improve building envelope energy efficiency. Here are seven of them. 1. Create a tight building envelope. It is important to create a tight building envelope around all six sides of a building (all four walls, the basement, and the […]
(Photography by Adrien Williams) Tucked away in the woods just outside Montreal sits a modern, stunning cabin overlooking Grenier Lake. Large windows take in the expansive forest and surrounding views. Local architect Paul Bernier understands this environment, and chose materials to complement it. Clad in cedar panels, and topped with a garden roof, the cabin […]
So much is at stake in the process of designing and building a new home. Decisions during the design process will affect the fate of the home itself; that of the homeowners; and, on a certain level, that of the larger systems around us, such as the housing market, and global ecology. Maybe this sounds […]
Open joint cladding buildings can be strikingly beautiful, but they require suitable stabilization against damaging UV rays in order to reliably protect the building against moisture damage. If the water-resistive barrier is not durable in extreme weather or stable when exposed to prolonged periods of UV light, the system will fail. How UV Rays Affect […]
Passive House construction is a truly energy-efficient, comfortable and affordable building standard. Wolfgang Feist initiated the Passive House concept in Germany in May, 1988, at a time when low-energy buildings were already the required legal standard for home construction in Denmark and Sweden. “Passive House is not a brand name, but a tried and true […]
Engineers are now coming to the conclusion that air-tightness is more important than window design in the conception of an energy-saving house. According to the website for the Air Barrier Association of America, airtightness is gauged by measuring the building envelope’s effectiveness. But what exactly does air-tightness mean? Its technical meaning, unlike some terms […]
Air and moisture control is important for occupant comfort and structural durability. Architects have to consider moisture control during the planning and construction phase of any building. There are several ways for moisture to travel into a building. In addition to precipitation and natural humidity, moisture can get into buildings from construction moisture, ground moisture, […]
Insulation Requires a High Performance Air and Moisture Barrier to be Effective In the past, buildings had drafts, allowing air and moisture vapor to flow relatively freely through the exterior walls, keeping the wall cavity moisture-free. Increasing levels of insulation kept buildings more comfortable, but insulation can create a dew point inside the wall […]
Air and moisture control in homes, says the US Department of Energy, begins with a discussion of what used to be called “vapor barriers,” but are now referred to as “vapor diffusion retarders.” Vapor diffusion retarders can aid in controlling moisture within “basements, ceilings, crawlspaces, floors, slab-on-grade foundations and walls,” and accomplish this by cutting […]
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, are perhaps one of the most well-known garden roof applications in history. While green roofs today may not carry the same element of wonder as Babylon’s take on design, garden roofs are gaining in popularity in urban neighborhoods across the […]
Net zero energy building envelope design should be of primary importance to every commercial contractor, asserts the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (CCES). “Space heating, cooling and ventilation,” says the CCES, use up the most energy in commercial sector, and comprise “34% of the energy used onsite.” Net zero energy, the term used in […]
(Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP; Image via latimes.com) Balcony construction defects can be deadly, not just expensive. Witness the tragedy in Berkeley, CA, on Tuesday morning, June 16, 2015, when six people were killed and seven severely injured when a fifth floor balcony they were standing on collapsed. The balcony was found to be in violation of […]
In a recent article for Green Builder Media, Chris Norris suggests that the energy-saving potential of continuous air barriers is often underrated. For some time, state energy codes focus more on conductive heat transfer through exterior walls than on air leakage. Now, building codes increasingly set air leakage standards as well. Air Infiltration vs Insulation […]
In the early stages of the green building movement, lighting, mechanical, control system designs, and upgrades received the most attention. Over the last several years, however, the focus has shifted towards designing and specifying energy efficient building envelopes. Building construction and operation have an enormous impact on the environment in terms of energy usage, atmospheric […]
Air and moisture control in buildings is a fundamental function for any commercial project involving conditioned space. Unfortunately moisture problems are common in many buildings and people often consider them inevitable. Moisture accumulation is the scourge of buildings throughout the United States, from tropical Hawaii to arctic Alaska and from the hot, humid Gulf Coast to the hot, dry Sonoran Desert. Between […]
Water will always find its way inside a building, even with new technology and modern materials. A hundred years ago this wasn’t a problem because older buildings had more air leakage which allowed water in the wall cavity to evaporate before it damaged the structure. However, while air moving through the wall allowed water to dry, […]
Space heating and cooling accounts for over 30% of global energy consumption. With a 150% predicted increase by 2050 for cooling alone, it’s hardly surprising that the question of how to design energy efficient buildings is echoing around the planet. Recently, the focus has been on the building envelope. The new construction phase offers the […]
How well are your membranes sealing around your nails? A test called ASTM D1970, Section 8.9, is conducted by manufacturers to confirm that their membranes meet a waterproofing standard. The test is administered by covering a piece of plywood with membrane, driving two nails into it, and backing them up a quarter of an inch. […]
DELTA®-TRELA Roof Underlayment Lou Ruvo Brain Institute – Las Vegas, NV The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Gehry’s portfolio includes such projects as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Gehry’s design of the Cleveland Clinic Lou […]
Building for sustainability, safety, and comfort requires the combined effort of engineers, architects, sub-contractors, and builders who understand how to design and specify an energy-efficient building envelope. This begins with the design concept and carries through to pricing, design review, construction, and building envelope commissioning. The preferred method for significant reduction in energy use and […]
Air Tightness and Building Performance High performing buildings are durable, comfortable, healthy and low-energy users. An essential component of the high performance building is minimized air leakage. Commercial air tightness testing is a quality control tool providing data for the mechanical engineer’s load and energy calculations so he/she can design the appropriate mechanical system. As […]
Air and moisture membranes are as much a part of modern building construction as doors and windows. These membranes are wrapped around the building within the wall structure, and they’re meant to help prevent mold, mildew, and other unwanted conditions that can damage the structure and lead to health problems for those who use it. […]
An efficient building envelope lowers costs and improves comfort and safety for tenants. Here are 8 ways to make your design more energy efficient.
Damaging effects of UV rays on air and moisture membranes that are exposed during construction. Air and moisture membranes are widely used in construction to keep buildings water-tight. They are applied to the roof and walls to keep the elements out during the construction process, and after being roofed and walled over, they continue to […]