How building tightness impacts performance

Janelle Penny | February 26, 2016

Brick wall
EFFLORESCENCE on brick facades can indicate degradation from moisture leakage. If the chalky white substance appears on your building, investigate possible sources of leaks.

Is your building still using more energy than it should be? A hidden leak in your envelope could be the culprit.

Cracks and gaps aren’t just an opportunity for wind-driven weather to infiltrate your building, they’re also an easy conduit for unconditioned air to enter and for conditioned air to leave, wasting heating and cooling dollars. Examine your envelope with these tips to ensure tightness.

A Compromised Envelope Affects Efficiency

“Air leakage is one of the major culprits when it comes to efficiency in buildings,” notes John Chamberlin, Director of Business Development for Sto Corp, a building envelope and coating provider. “When you have unwanted air movement through the building, there’s cold air coming in and warm air getting out when you don’t want it to. Meanwhile, your HVAC or heater is trying to address those issues.”

To make matters worse, air infiltration can easily lead to moisture infiltration, whether the air carries vapor with it or weather squeezes through the same spaces air does, adds James Hodgson, General Manager of Premier SIPs, a structural insulated panels manufacturer. This can further lower your building’s energy efficiency and leave it vulnerable to mold and structural damage.

Originally published in Buildings Magazine • February 2016

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