Adventures in Hygrothermal Modeling

Track 1

Tuesday, May 2, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Hygrothermal modeling, the analysis of heat and moisture transport through building enclosure assemblies, reveals many of the climate-specific building science secrets that are key to durable design of walls and roofs and other assemblies. Debunking rules of thumb and avoiding answers of “it depends” – data and analysis can reveal exactly how many inches of a certain insulation are required, exactly what perm-rating will optimize an assembly, and what kind of havoc a reservoir cladding system can create. Case studies will be shown that demonstrate when perm rating matters and when it does not, the impact of roof membrane color and the risks of “cool roofing,” and when HT (high-temp) rated membranes are actually required.

Learning Objectives:


  1. Learn climate-specific design strategies for durable construction.
  2. Learn to avoid common mistakes that can lead to mold, rot, mildew, corrosion and decay.
  3. Understand how hygrothermal modeling can be used in the design process to ensure durability.
  4. Learn how material properties (permeability, heat capacity, density, conductivity, and porosity) impact wall assemblies.
Level of content:

Keith Simon, FAIA

Terracon, Austin, TX

Mr. Simon is a Senior Architectural Consultant and Building Enclosures Department Manager for Terracon Facilities in Austin, TX. He is a Registered Architect, Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC), Legacy LEED AP, and Building Enclosure Commissioning Provider (BECxP) with over 15 years’ experience in architectural design and building enclosure consultation. His experience includes investigation, evaluation, analysis, renovation design, construction administration, testing, and peer review of design phase documentation of building envelope issues. Mr. Simon was the founder of the Austin Building Enclosure Council (BEC: Austin) and currently serves as a board member for both BEC: Austin, as well as the Passive House Austin Chapter. Mr. Simon is a Terracon Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Hygrothermal Modeling and Building Enclosure Commissioning. Mr. Simon has been adjunct faculty at the University of Texas School of Architecture (UTSoA) in Austin since 2011 and currently serves as Secretary for the National Institute of Building Science (NIBS) Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) Executive Committee.