Category: Codes and Standards

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 […]

Construction Defects Laws

Construction quality is a hot issue, gaining national attention due to enormous class-action lawsuits brought against architects and contractors in states all across the U.S. The size and number of these lawsuits with their large payouts is crippling to the commercial construction industry in their states. Construction Defects Laws enacted in the 1990’s and 2000’s […]

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 […]

What’s the deal with pressure equalization versus open-cladding?

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mold Lawsuits Against Landlords

There are so many stories about lawsuits for mold and moisture damage in buildings that a special blog called MoldBlogger: Fight Mold and Win has now surfaced online. This blog is evidence of the seriousness of the issue. Many of the cases described originate during construction when important steps to prevent leakage and moisture seepage were skipped, resulting in […]

Architect and Contractor Sued for Moldy Stadium

BBB Stadium Inc. is claiming that the Winnipeg IGA Stadium is leaky, moldy, and not properly suited for year-round use. The stadium, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club and the University of Manitoba. Despite the stadium’s location in a high-snowfall city, the concession areas are without heat, the water and electric […]

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 […]

Colorado Construction Defect Bill Dies In Senate

An attempt by the Colorado State legislature to improve condominium owners’ legal remedies for shoddy commercial building practices has failed. Seeking controls over access to litigation by disgruntled Condominium Home Owner Associations (HOA), SB 177 died in a House committee in late April 2015. Six Colorado legislators believed the bill unfairly limited the rights of […]

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 […]

Moisture Control in Construction Prevents Expensive Litigation in Court

Mold construction defects happen. As a natural element in the environment, mold exists virtually everywhere. Soy sauce, sake, blue cheese, and penicillin are all derived from mold-imbued substances. However, when mold grows unabated in contained areas, it can sicken people who are exposed to it. Mold can trigger allergic, irritating and sometimes toxic responses in […]

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 […]

Benefits of Metal Roofs in Building Design

  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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

5 Things Holding Back Green Buildings

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 […]

House Buying Goes Green with Fannie Mae Energy Mortgages

Housing developers and new home buyers are following a smart path. They are incorporating whole-house energy efficient systems in the planning phase of residential construction and installing energy efficient upgrades when buying older homes that are desirable for their charm and character. A home that has a good home energy score sells faster and increases […]

The Growth of Green Home Building

The growing interest in green home building is evident on many fronts. Dodge Data and Analytics estimates that 84 percent of home builders will offer green construction options by 2018. In late 2015, the same firm estimated that green building volume will double every three years. Consensus on a National Green Building Standard The ICC 700 National Green […]

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 […]