The Building Enclosure Core

The Building Enclosure Core reflects a very different perspective in enclosure design.  The ‘Core’ refers to all elements of the enclosure with the exception of its exterior cladding system.  It is both physical construct as well as resilience exercise as it embodies the most critical elements of air, moisture, and thermal management. Traditionally the industry…

Quotes: Dew Point Analysis vs. Hygrothermal Simulation

On Steady State/Dew Point Assessment (Glaser Method): BS EN ISO 13788:2002 Section 6.1 This standard gives calculation methods for: a) The internal surface temperature of a building component or building element below which mould growth is likely, given the internal temperature and relative humidity – the method can also be used to assess the risk…

Extreme Climatic Events

Extreme Climatic Events Provide Important Insights For Resilient Design

Extreme climatic conditions are those falling in the upper or lower tenth percentile of the local period of record. North American hygrothermal datasets rely on such extremes in simulating climatic effects on building performance. Prior to 2012, WUFI employed customized 30-year hourly data provided by the U.S. Department of Energy for the 1961-1990 period of…

Climate Data for Building Simulations

Computer simulations rely on a variety of datasets when assessing the effects of climate on building performance.  These data, and the models they power, provide an important basis for planning, design, and cost analysis.  Below I describe some of the major types of climate datasets used in energy and hygrothermal modeling. Weather Years Datasets described…

Moisture Performance Of An All-Wood R-30 Wall

Natural alternatives to foam insulation are highly desirable for high-performing wood-framed buildings.  But lignocellulosic materials can be highly bio-nutritive and moisture absorptive, increasing their vulnerability to degradation and reduced thermal performance.  Designers are often faced with the dilemma of selecting materials that are less environmentally safe for much improved performance.  In this article, I describe a…

The 2012 Energy Code Necessitates Perfection

Adoption of the 2012 International Energy Code will require exterior continuous wall insulation for climate zones 6, 7, and 8.  When used in combination with cavity insulation, the minimum requirements include 20+5 or 13+10.  The first value pertains to cavity insulation whereas the second is continuous exterior insulation (CI).   Although comparable insulation strategies are also…

Brick And Concrete Masonry Failures: Considerations For Preserving Post-War Era Buildings

Concrete masonry construction was common practice in post-war Modern architecture where it was used extensively in schools, churches, public buildings, and industrial complexes.  Brick and concrete block-bonded construction gained favor in many public buildings for its perceived durability, aesthetics, and relative ease of construction.  Over 50 years later, many of these buildings now have historic significance but suffer…