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We’ve all heard the nightmare scenarios: water leaks that mar the finest architectural features of a new building; air leaks that cause hidden mold or rot inside the walls; thermal bridges that compromise occupant comfort and energy performance.
These scenarios have two things in common: first, they could all land you in court. Second, they are all preventable if you’re giving each building assembly detail the time and attention it deserves.
During a recession, most firms are already working with knifeblade-thin margins, so it can be tempting to cut corners. While the “extra” work required to get the details right might seem expensive in the short term, it’s a good long-term investment.
In this month’s EBN feature article, Peter Yost and I take a look at how industry leaders are changing the way they practice architecture in response to the increasing complexity of—and increasing demands on—our buildings and building assemblies.
We all want energy-efficient buildings, but there are tradeoffs: when you decrease the energy flow through a building assembly, you have to be a lot more careful about every little air leak and thermal bridge; otherwise you risk moisture problems.
This challenge is even greater because more sophisticated, multilayered building systems may have properties we don’t know about or forget to check. For example, all building materials—not just the ones we call retarders or barriers—affect vapor movement to some degree; serious moisture problems can occur if the permeability of each assembly component is not accounted for in assembly design.
In our article, we go through the four essential features needed to ensure good hygrothermal performance, and we’ve included lots of beautiful, detailed cross-sections from leading residential and commercial building science experts to give you ideas for solving common problems, such as:
As a matter of fact, this whole issue of EBN is chock full of building science know-how and includes:
I’ll just leave you with a little teaser: our whole editorial team is currently expanding on all this work in a new report on high-performance building assemblies. It’s due out just before the holidays—so put it on your wish list, and watch this space for more details soon!
We installed these in our new house and they work great. Excellent product.
With a little patience you can find the material information embedded in their pdfs. But it looks to me like some of the...
A building is created, built, run, impacted, used and abused by dozens, hundreds, and even tens of thousands of the least..." More...
Bryan, the article above discusses mounting considerations relative to heating. I think it's up to you to weigh whether those considerations are..." More...
Bryan J says, "
Thanks Triston, but what do you think would be a suitable location for the inside unit, should I mount it up high, about 7 feet or mount it lower..." More...
Tristan Roberts says, "
Bryan, if you want to provide heating and cooling, and if doing so electrically is attractive, then I don't see any issue with using a mini-split..." More...
Bryan J says, "
I have been reading the comments on the mini splits, let me tell you what I have and what I'm looking to do. Any comments will help me. I have a..." More...
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