High-Performance Builders: Air Sealing is Key to Sustainable HomesKevin Dugan
The importance of high-performance homes and the building envelope continue to gain recognition. The reasons driving this emerging trend were made clear during a recent webinar from the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA).
AeroBarrier’s National Director, Paul Springer, walked through how air sealing fits into a complete thermal control system, how it addresses three of the four major risk management controls when building a home, and how AeroBarrier system’s innovative approach to air sealing addresses the challenges with manual air sealing.
Consider Each Component of a Thermal Enclosure System
When it comes to high-performance building, it’s important to remember that the components of a thermal enclosure system work together to optimize energy performance and enhance indoor environmental quality.
The air sealing, air barriers, insulation and windows work together to manage a home’s four control layers.
- Thermal Control: The control of heat in buildings requires insulation layers installed property that are comprised of few thermal bridges, an effective air barrier system, good control of solar radiation, and management of interior heat generation. Insulation cannot achieve its true R-value if air is leaking into the building envelope.
- Air Flow Control: The actual flow of air is determined by several factors, including hole size, resistance to flow, and pressure effects. If the air flow is uncontrolled, it can lead to comfort, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency concerns. It is also a way for moisture vapor to enter a building.
- Vapor Control: It addresses unseen moisture travelling through the air. Once inside a wall cavity, moisture vapor will go through convective loops in which it can reach dew point and turn from vapor to liquid. This is often detected after the fact as condensation or damp insulation fibers.
- Bulk Moisture Control: The flow of liquid like rain, snow or flowing groundwater can be the most damaging moisture transport mechanism a building must confront. This issue can be addressed through a mix of proper land grade and redirection of water via gutters and downspouts.
Out of the above control layers, all but bulk moisture control can be improved with proper air sealing of the building envelope.
Air Leakage is a Critical Issue
Air leakage, or infiltration, occurs when outside air enters a house through cracks, gaps, and openings. This leakage allows dust, allergens, pollutants, and other airborne particulates to enter the home. There are several benefits to reducing air leakage in addition to addressing three of four control layers in the home.
Air Sealing: The Foundation to High-Performance Home Building
Courtesy of EEBA, you can watch the entire webinar below. This includes an overview of how AeroBarrier turns the unpredictable, manual process of air sealing into a consistent, dependable process. And by bringing flexibility and efficiency to the build process, it is helping builders meet high-performance requirements more easily and cost-effectively than before.