Whole Building Airtightness Testing of Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Buildings

Track 3: Testing & Inspection

Wednesday, March 27, 9:45 – 10:45am

This presentation will address the research on whole building airtightness carried out by the Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) at the Red River College, Winnipeg, Canada.  Over the last six years, BETAC has tested over 50 large Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Buildings (ICI) ranging from 100 year old churches to recently completed buildings. The goal of this work has been to establish a baseline air leakage rate, and to compare pre- and post-retrofit airtightness rates to better understand the effectiveness of air leakage sealing in ICI buildings.

The results of this research were also helped in the development of the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) Test Method for Building Enclosure Airtightness Compliance Testing Standard. This has now led to the creation of a new ASTM Standard Test Method for Determining the Air Leakage Rate of Large or Multi-Zone Buildings which introduced improvements from existing test methods to overcome limitations on building height and climate conditions.  It also led to the creation of two distinct test protocols within the Standard which focuses the test on either building durability or energy performance.

North America building officials are starting to incorporate airtightness requirements into regional codes, and the intent is to introduce the Test/Standard into US and Canadian National Codes in 2020. Also, the introduction of the Canadian National Master Specification on Building Enclosure Performance Testing and Commissioning now includes whole building airtightness testing. This presentation will include a short overview of the basic principles of whole building airtightness testing with a discussion of the current and proposed airtightness rates for US and Canadian ICI buildings. It will conclude with explaining the current available training and the future certification of personal conducting the whole building airtightness test.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To learn the basic principles of whole building airtightness testing.
  2. To learn the current range of airtightness in ICI buildings.
  3. To understand Code requirements for whole building airtightness.
  4. To understand about the relevant test Standards.
Level of content:
Design Professionals
Testing & Inspection

Cory Carson

Red River College

Cory Carson is a Red River College graduate from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program and is a Level II IR Thermographer. Cory has previously worked for a mechanical engineering consultant with duties including drafting, heating and cooling take-offs, and mechanical system design.

Cory has been working at Red River College for past seven years and during this time has conducted airtightness testing on over 50 large building in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Cory has also assisted in the development and been on the sub-committee for a new airtightness testing standard.

Kevin Knight

Red River College Building Envelope Technology Access Centre

Kevin is a building enclosure authority with over 30 years’ experience in field observation and testing, commissioning, research, education and training.  Kevin has collaborated with federal and provincial governments, utilities, and private sector companies on many projects. He has had numerous papers published in Canada, United States and Europe, and is a frequent lecturer on building science. He currently sits on the ASTM E06 Performance of Buildings co-chair for the Standard Practice for Enclosure Commissioning, and chair for the Enclosure Commissioning Training and Certification, is a member of Society of Protective Coatings and Chairs the Commercial Air/Vapor Barriers Committee. Kevin sat on the ULC Standards Committee for Air Barriers, and CSA Z320 Building Commissioning Architectural Subcommittee.