Energy and Air Barriers ‐ Navigating the New Codes

Track 1: Design Sessions

Wednesday, May 9, 08:00 – 09:30

Over the past decade, energy codes have brought a number of changes with respect to improving the performance of the building envelope both in design and construction. Most notable is the increasing importance placed on air‐leakage through the enclosure and how this often unknown value affects many of the energy efficiency metrics that define the performance of the building. Currently, there are multiple codes and standards requiring varying levels of air tightness as well as varying levels and methods of verification. As the requirements and performance implications become better understood, common design and construction practices will experience shifts toward better performance as was experienced in the early years of the USACE requirements on which the private sector codes are based.

Through a review of multiple case studies of current enclosure consulting and whole building air leakage testing, including high‐rise, multi‐family, and historic renovation, this paper will discuss these codes and standards for validity, impact and relevance. Additionally, the metrics of air‐leakage as part of the overall energy model will be discussed along with the implications of what varying levels of acceptable air leakage can have on material selection, construction type, level of quality control, and even complexity of performance testing.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the theory and historical progression of air tightness requirements and understand the metrics that provide the baseline for levels of air tightness.
  2. Understand the basic phases of holistic enclosure consulting related to air barriers.
  3. Understand validity, impact, and relevance of the wide range of air tightness codes and standards.
  4. Understand air leakage performance verification testing.
Level of content:
Construction & Testing

J. Lee Durston BS, CBST II

Principal, Division Manager
Morrison Hershfield

Lee Durston is a Building Science specialist with over 13 years of experience in a variety of project types including military, mid-rise, natatoriums, government, hospitality and multi-family residential.  He serves on the US Department of Defense High Performance Building Envelope Task Force and is a contributing editor for the USACE Air Leakage Testing Protocol. He is a contributing author for the International Energy Agency Energy Conservation in Buildings and Community Systems Annex 46 “Energy and Process Assessment Protocol”.  Lee provides industry training for Building Envelope related professionals, contractors, architects, developers, and has developed specific training programs for Navy Facilities Command (NAVFAC) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Rick Ziegler PE, RRC, RRO

Division Manager
Morrison Hershfield

Rick has over 10 years of experience as a building envelope consultant.  His consulting experience is broad and covers new and existing building in numerous regions of North America, Europe, and Asia.  His work includes building envelope assessments and investigations, envelope design and specifications, shop drawing and submittal reviews, field testing, mockups, and construction review.  Rick has worked on both new construction and rehabilitation projects across a number of market sectors such as commercial office, healthcare, higher education and government. He was also a contributor to the State of Utah’s high performance building standard.