Category: Air Barriers

Energy Efficiency Adds Value to Your Property

  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 […]

Protecting One of Toronto’s Architectural Gems

The Integral House is arguably one of Toronto’s most unusual and spectacular residences. Its name reflects the summa symbol (∫) used to represent the integral in calculus; though it is known more simply to many as the Toronto Mansion. The 17,000-sq.-ft. Rosedale home was designed and built in 2009 for esteemed mathematician and calculus textbook author Dr. James […]

LEED Certification and Air Infiltration

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 […]

Foundation Protection Solutions. Step 1: Ditch the Sprays

When it comes to foundation protection and wall waterproofing, some builders only factor in code compliance. They simply spray a tar/asphalt coating on the concrete foundation and proceed with backfilling. Problem is, this approach is short-sighted, leading to spray-on foundation protection issues. Easily damaged spray-on coatings may create vulnerabilities on numerous levels, including moisture leading to mold […]

Choosing Appropriate Materials for Net Zero Buildings

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 […]

Nail Sealability ASTM D1970

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. […]

Why You Should Use Air and Moisture Barrier with Foam Sheathing

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 […]

Common Problems that Reduce the Effectiveness of Your House Wrap

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 […]

How to Choose the Best Housewrap

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 […]

Water-Resistive Barriers: When and Why Does Vapor Permeance Matter?

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, […]

Airtightness: On the Path to High Performance

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 […]

The Pros Know: Dr. Straube chooses an airtight, vapor permeable barrier for his coach house

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 […]

Energy Efficiency Starts with Airtightness

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 […]

How Airtightness Testing Improves Building Performance

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 […]

Airtightness and Window Design: Is the Solar Design Obsolete?

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 […]

High-performing Air Barriers: The Unsung Hero of Construction

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 […]

Sheathing Membranes: Air Barrier Building Code Requirements

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 […]

How Can Builders Avoid the Detrimental Effects of Wind-Driven Rain?

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 […]

A stunningly comfortable first impression

Clark University, located in Worcester, MA, is a widely respected research institution, particularly for its excellent science program. To reflect the cutting-edge research that is happening inside its buildings every day, the university is committed to investing in its campus exteriors, in hopes of attracting top students and faculty. That’s why, after three decades, it […]

The 5 Criteria for Evaluating Air Barrier Systems in Buildings

Air barrier systems in buildings are marketed as systems because many different types of materials must combine to make an airtight plane that controls airflow. The critical areas for any airtight plane are a building’s material transitions, penetrations, and joints. 5 important criteria to use when judging or comparing air barrier systems: 1) Continuity. Air […]

Air Barrier Testing Considerations in Your Design

Designers should be thinking about air barrier system testing in the design phase to ensure that the barrier can be installed correctly. Contractors need to follow installation procedures and guidelines to make sure that the system works as intended. However, because air barriers are crucial, whole-building systems, air tightness testing is normally required to prove […]

The Architect’s Guide to Air Barrier Systems

Architects are busy. Not only do they have to design buildings, envision their performance, and specify products that help them meet their design goals, they also have to keep up with building industry developments. Architects must also take classes, workshops, and seminars in order to maintain their professional license. Even a layperson can see that […]

Building Envelope and Air Barrier Systems Technical Guide

Most people think of technical guides as just information about products. However, the new air barrier systems technical guide, from Dörken, is full of educational information about air barrier systems that can be used by anyone. It is a valuable educational tool for people in the industry, including architects, contractors, and specifiers. The guide starts […]

Avoiding Moisture Barrier Problems

With all of the different risks and dangers that come with building commercial structures, moisture problems often get overlooked until it’s too late. While it’s possible to fix problems with the moisture barrier once construction is completed, it’s always better to prevent these problems from happening in the first place. Moisture Barrier Problems in Commercial […]

Energy Efficient Design and Construction Continues to Grow

The buzz about going green is a trend that requires attention. Embracing the changes in commercial and industrial buildings that are being demanded  for energy efficient design and construction is key to making building owners and tenants satisfied. Since commercial buildings consume seventeen percent of the nation’s energy, valued at more than $100 billion according to EnergyStar.gov, business and industry […]

5 Things to Consider with Air & Moisture Barriers

As many people are aware, energy-saving designs in construction have been made increasingly mandatory. With these changes in mind, the use of air barriers, vapor barriers, water-resistive barriers, (fluid applied and sheet/membrane) can aid in the proper performance of buildings and help to reduce maintenance efforts later down the line. Air Moisture Barrier Considerations 1.    Such design […]

Modern Building Techniques

Ever wondered how ancient structures such as the pyramids, the Roman Coliseum, Stonehenge, and more stood the test of time, while many of our modern structures fail due to rot? Simple. Ancient builders used plain stone for their structures. Who cared if the stones got wet, or battered with wind or hail? Today, our structures […]

Ashrae 90.1 Standard for Building Envelopes

First appearing in 1975, an updated Ashrae 90.1 energy standard for all but low-rise residential buildings comes out every 3 years. Taking into account current technology and life cycle cost, Ashrae 90.1 establishes minimum energy efficiency requirements for building design and operation including building envelopes (as of 2007). Ashrae 90.1 Currently, the Ashrae 90.1 uses the 8 […]

Solutions for Air Leakage in Buildings

With more people than ever concerned about implementing green building practices in commercial construction, making sure there are no air leaks in buildings (air leakage) is an important factor in construction planning. Here are some ways to make sure a building is tighter and more energy efficient. When Air Leakage in Buildings Is Most Likely to […]

Reducing Lawsuits for Mold Damage in Buildings

There are countless stories about lawsuits for mold and moisture damage in buildings, none of which are insignificant. Mold and moisture damage in buildings is a serious topic that has garnered millions of dollars of litigation for companies and individuals. Buildings that do not properly mitigate moisture and water leakage can present toxic and mold-infested environments […]

The Damaging Effects of UV on Air and Moisture Membranes Left Exposed During Construction

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. […]

Boulder Wildland Fire Station – Solutions for a Demanding Environment

When the Boulder Wildland Fire Station was being built, DELTA®-VENT S was chosen for its high standards of durability. The building, designed by Allred & Associates, was added to an existing Firefighting Regional Training Facility. Boulder Wildland Fire Station will become the command center for all Boulder Wildland firefighting needs. Facing the Rocky Mountains, the facility sits between the Sixmile and Boulder […]

DELTA®-TRELA Provides Moisture Control For Gehry Design

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 Design Shouldn’t Trump Moisture Issues

Even the most prestigious architects can get it wrong. In 2007, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sued renowned architect, Frank Gehry, for design and construction defects in the $300 million dollar Stata Center on the MIT campus. Three years later, the lawsuit was resolved amicably, but the revelations regarding the failures are still instructive for […]

Creative Building Design Requires High Performance Water-Resistive Barrier Solutions

The Science Pyramid at Denver Botanic Gardens invites visitors to explore the relationship between people and plants, and to examine the role of biomimicry in our lives – the way the features of nature inspire ideas and actions in people. It’s not surprising then that the building has a great relationship with its surroundings. Rising to a comfortable height among the […]

Net-Zero Energy Building and Building Envelope

The detrimental effects of carbon fuel consumption on the environment have stimulated development of a ‘net-zero’ energy measurement for public and private buildings. A ‘Net-Zero’ building is defined as one that creates as much energy as it consumes on an annually averaged basis. Currently, energy production is not incorporated into the construction of most commercial […]

Air and Moisture Control in Buildings

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 […]

Air Infiltration vs Insulation: Continuous Air Barrier System Deserves Attention

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 […]

Proper Air and Moisture Control in Homes, According to the US Department of Energy

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 […]

Stunning Open Joint Cabin Requires Specialized Protection

(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 […]

Energy Efficiency in Modern Buildings

As modern building materials advance, energy efficiency is inescapable. Near-zero energy buildings are becoming increasingly popular in Europe. However, this will not have a great effect on energy consumption as a whole until energy efficient building materials and practices are widespread. Iowa State University Professor Yu Wang states that energy efficiency is relatively inexpensive when […]

The Purpose and Characteristics of a High Performance Air Barrier

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 […]

A Solution for the Construction Labor Shortage

For years now, the labor shortage in construction has continued. While every firm may have some understanding of the current lack of skilled labor, the problem is likely much deeper than it is often thought to be. To be precise: the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC of America) issued a press release claiming that 83% of contractors report having difficulty finding […]

Air and Moisture Barriers Important to Net Zero Homes

Over the past decade, net zero homes have grown in popularity. They are also more viable as solar panels have dramatically decreased in cost while increasing in efficiency, and energy storage systems have become far more cost-effective. Now, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) cites a report from the Net Zero Energy Coalition (NZEC) stating that 6,200 housing units […]

Easier, Faster and More Accurate Wall Designs

Wall designs are one of the most time consuming projects for an architect.  As you design buildings that are energy-efficient and compliant with code changes, the wall details become more detail-oriented and evermore critical to the performance of the building. Dörken, in collaboration with Roxul, has generated BIM files for wall sections, including air and water-resistive barrier details. […]

The Role of Air Barriers and Continuous Insulation in an Age of Green Construction

[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 […]

The Importance of Designing Adaptive and Dynamic Building Envelopes

Professionals in the construction industry have seen the buzzwords “resilience” and “adaptation” in their work, especially when it comes to the importance of building envelopes. While some might see the words skeptically as a trend, Irene C. Pau at Consulting-Specifying Engineer goes to show that implementing adaptive and dynamic building envelope goes a long way […]

Net Zero Energy Building Envelope Design

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 […]

Designing an Energy Efficient Building Envelope

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 […]