Category: Airtightness

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 […]

Standardizing Rainscreens

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 […]

How Blower Door Testing Can Help Homebuilders

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Attention Builders: Home Buyers Want Dry Basements

High Performance Drainboards Provide Reliable Waterproofing Protection If you offer basements with your homes, you realize what a problem moisture can be.  When a downpour causes a flooded basement, you get blamed. Flooded basements can also come from grading problems, unforeseen underground water issues, or something as simple as gutter placement. Whatever the cause, as […]

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 […]

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 […]

Building Envelope Code Changes and Builders

Because international building codes are regularly updated, it is always important to look at the recent changes to the International Residential Code and what it means to builders. Not surprisingly, the 2012 update of the International Residential Code (IRC) includes more demanding energy performance standards than the 2009 update. Also, it simply references many of […]

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 […]