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…

Mold-Resistant Construction Materials: Godsend Or Gimmick?

Quality moisture management relies heavily on guidance intended to reduce surface relative humidity below thresholds for mold.   The companion to this approach is centered on using materials that are more resistant to mold either by using naturally resistant materials or by employing materials and products manufactured with chemical inhibitors.  Mold-resistance strategies assume that materials can sustain…

Exterior Insulation And Drainage Plane Woes

The IECC’s requirement for 1” continuous exterior insulation has prompted wall configurations that integrate various types of outbound insulating materials.    With all of these systems, adequate considerations must be made for the amount of moisture penetration from wind driven rain and the presumed location of this moisture load.   It is generally assumed that exterior surfaces of…

Frankensteinian Design: Energy Efficiency At The Expense Of Durability

Energy efficient initiatives, coupled with the IECC’s requirements for continuous insulation over exterior surfaces, have prompted a vast array of ‘Frankensteinian’ energy assemblies.  From three-coat stucco over outbound EPS to EIFS on structural insulated panels (SIPs), the combinations of such hybrid approaches appear endless.  While the professed energy efficiencies can be impressive, moisture management may…

Reach A Higher State Of EIFS Consciousness

Moisture performance of EIFS is misunderstood and it continues to be a subject of consternation.  Much of the confusion stems from the fact that design criteria for EIFS assemblies incorporating cavity insulation plus outbound insulation panels have not been adequately addressed by the EIFS industry.  Manufacturers place the responsibility of assembly design squarely on the…