Category: Energy Efficiency

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Benefits of Mineral Wool Insulation

These days, many traditional materials are being phased out in favor of materials that are more natural and sustainable. The world of insulation is no exception. Traditional insulation materials such as fiberglass batting, polyisocyanurate insulation, and extruded polystyrene are stepping aside to make way for the benefits of mineral wool insulation. Mineral wool is also […]

How to Properly Design a Garden Roof

Also called a living roof, a green roof garden partially or fully covers a building’s roof with vegetation, usually a succulent such as Sedum. Besides adding another dimension of green space, roof gardens have other benefits including extending roof life, slowing thermal transfer, providing cooling in the summer, attenuating noise level, improving surrounding air quality, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Continuous Insulation Addresses Problem of Thermal Bridging

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 […]

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 Art of Proper Moisture Protection

The multi-award-winning Audain Art Museum is quintessentially Canadian – from the eclectic art housed inside to the unassuming yet masterfully planned and executed hockey-stick-shaped building itself. Yet, despite all the beauty on display for visitors, it’s the unseen elements that make this building truly amazing. The 56,000 sq. ft. private museum sits nestled amidst the […]

3 Ways to Control Heat Loss in Buildings

Heat flow affects a building’s durability, efficiency, and comfort levels. Condensation that builds up or does not dissipate can lead to mold, health problems, and structural decay. Leaks and heat loss have an impact on human comfort and health and contribute to energy waste as the building has to use more energy to regulate its […]

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 […]

Comparing the Three Systems for Rain Penetration Control: Storage, Drained Rainscreen, and Perfect Barrier

Rain control is the most important function of an enclosure, since it directly correlates to a building’s longevity. The number one factor for effective rain penetration control is good building design. Most rainwater can be deflected off of a building through use of architectural features or landscaping. However, rainwater management features are still vital in […]

The Perfect Wall; Applying Science to the Building Enclosure

In High Performance Building Enclosures, Dr. John Straube outlines the ‘ideal’ wall for the purpose of helping designers conceptualize how a building enclosure’s components should work together as a system. The sequence of layers represents a conceptual, climate-neutral approach with a scientific placement of the control layers that shows designers clearly how they interact and […]

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 […]

Overcoming House Wrap Issues With Self-adhered Membranes

Many businesses might not be in the habit of sharing the benefits of a competitor’s product. Occasionally, however, they offer information of which one should consider. We’ve been lauding the benefits of using self-adhered air barriers as opposed to mechanically-attached house wraps for some time now. We’d like to refer you to an infographic posted by Grace Construction Products, […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Premium Metal Cladding Systems and Roofing Benefits

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]