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Technical Articles

Read selected air barrier-related technical articles

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Air Barriers

Building Enclosures require proactive actions by each member of the Design and Construction Teams to deliver a building that meets stated performance requirements. Air Barriers are a critical component to meeting those requirements.

The following document addresses ten of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that Architects, Engineers and Construction Managers/General Contractors ask with respect to air barriers. The answers that follow provide insight for these team players to minimize building enclosure risks and provide assurance that their projects are proactive in meeting the performance requirements.

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ABAA has identified many technical articles that are interesting and relevant to the industry and which cover a wide range of topics, from work done on the building science to physics of how materials work. To assist you in determining what article may be of interest to you, the articles are grouped into general headings and list author, date issued and article link.

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
Continuing Problems with Air Barrier Systems
The Construction Specifier
Joshua Kelly and Jeffrey J. Ceruti, PE December 2011 View Article
Air Barrier Management Fact Sheet
NEEC
Technical content contributed by Morrison Hershfield July 2011 View Article
Air Barriers: An Evolution
Masonry Magazine
Christopher Bupp April 2010 View Article
The High Performance House – What Does It Take? – Part One
Home Energy Magazine Online
John Tooley March/April 1999 View Article
Handling Framing Details in High – Performance Homes – Part Two
Home Energy Magazine Online
John Tooley May/June 1999 View Article
The Air Barrier Defined
National Research Council Canada
R.L. Quirouette January 1981 View Article
Air barrier systems: Construction Applications
National Research Council Canada
J.C. Perreault January 1981 View Article
The Difference Between a Vapour Barrier and an Air Barrier
National Research Council Canada
R.L. Quirouette July 1985 View Article
Air Barrier Systems in Buildings
Whole Building Design Guide
Wagdy Anis, FAIA August 2016 View Article
A Method for Evaluating Air Barrier Systems and Materials
National Research Council Canada
B. Di Lenardo December 1, 2000 View Article
Air Sealing in Occupied Homes
Home Energy Magazine Online
David Keefe November/December 1995 View Article
RR-0403: Air Barriers
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek September 2004 View Article
Structural Requirements for Air Barriers
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
1991 View Article
Air Barrier Materials and Systems: What is the Difference? Is There a Difference?
National Research Council Canada
M.Z. Rousseau November 1, 2004 View Article
GM-0702: Guide to Insulation Sheathing
Building Science Corporation
Peter Baker January 2007 View Article
Single Wythe Block Construction Greg Pope, Wagdy Anis AIA and Phillip Daley AIA July 2007 View Article
Air Barriers in Building Construction Honeywell 2010 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
Wrap it up: Building Houses with the Skin on the Outside
Home Energy Magazine Online
Chris Makepeace November/December 1999 View Article
Energy Efficient Remodeling – Grab the Opportunity!
Home Energy Magazine Online
Karina Lutz January/February 1995 View Article
Controlling the transfer of heat, air and moisture through the Building Envelope
National Research Council Canada
M.C. Swinton, W.C. Brown and G.A. Chown November 1, 2004 View Article
Wind and air pressures on the Building Envelope
National Research Council Canada
U. Ganguli January 1981 View Article
Wind Safety of the Building Envelope
Home Energy Magazine Online
Tom Smith, AIA View Article
Low-Permeance Materials in Building Envelopes
National Research Council Canada
M.K. Kumaran and J.C. Haysom October 2000 View Article
Integrating the Window with the Building Envelope
National Research Council Canada
A. Pautenaude, D.L. Scott and M.E. Lux July 18, 2012 View Article
Investigation of the Impact of Commercial Building Envelope Airtightness on HVAC Energy Use.
U.S. Department of Energy: Office of Building Technologies
Steven J. Ememerich, Tomothy P. McDowell and Wagdy Anis June 2005 View Article
The Trouble With It: Building Science
Fine Homebuilding
Kevin Ireton Spring/Summer 2012 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
Beauty and the Beast Upstairs
Home Energy Magazine Online
David Connelly Legg March/April 1995 View Article
Out, Out Dammed Ice!
Home Energy Magazine Online
Paul Fisette November/December 1996 View Article
Vapour Barriers in Home Construction
National Research Council Canada
G.O. Handegord July 18, 2012 View Article
Vapour Barriers: What are they? Are they effective?
National Research Council Canada
J.K. Latta March 1976 View Article
Air Leakage Control
National Research Council Canada
M.E. Lux and W.C. Brown January 1989 View Article
Control of Air Leakage is Important
National Research Council Canada
G.K. Garden December 1965 View Article
Air Leakage in Buildings
National Research Council Canada
A.G. Wilson July 18, 2012 View Article
Humidity in Canadian Buildings
National Research Council Canada
N.B. Hutcheon May 1, 1956 View Article
Humidified Buildings
National Research Council Canada
N.B. Hutcheon July 18, 2012 View Article
RR-0410: Vapor Barriers and Wall Design
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek November 1, 2004 View Article
BSD-106: Understanding Vapor Barriers
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek April 2011 View Article
RR-0410: Vapor Barriers and Wall Design
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek November 2004 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
Moisture Control in Bathrooms
Home Energy Magazine Online
Marilou Cheple and Pat Huelman March/April 1998 View Article
Moisture and Mobile Home Weatherization
Home Energy Magazine Online
George Tsongas July/August 1995 View Article
Fundamental of Moisture in Houses
Home Energy Magazine Online
Joseph Lstiburek and John Carmody November/December 1995 View Article
Moisture Problems in Houses
National Research Council Canada
A.T. Hansen July 18, 2012 View Article
Moisture Sources in Houses
National Research Council Canada
R.L. Quirouette May 1984 View Article
PA-0201: Moisture Control for Buildings
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek February 1, 2002 View Article
RR-0203: Relative Humidity
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek April 2002 View Article
CP-0932: Humidity Control in the Humid South
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek November 16, 1993 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
Unventing Attics in Cold Climates
Home Energy Magazine Online
Joseph Lstiburek November/December 1999 View Article
Ventilating Attics to Minimize Icings at Eaves
Home Energy Magazine Online
Wayne Tobiasson, James Buska, and Alan Greatorex March/April 1995 View Article
Mechanical Ventilation for the Home
Home Energy Magazine Online
Don Stevens March/April 1996 View Article
Preventing Ice Dams
Building and Construction Technology
Paul Fisette 2011 View Article
Why Houses Need Mechanical Ventilation Systems
National Research Council Canada
J.C. Haysom and J.T. Reardon May 1, 1998 View Article
Current Approaches for Mechanical Ventilations of Houses
National Research Council Canada
J.C. Haysom and J.T. Reardon May 1, 1998 View Article
Factors Affecting the Performance of Ventilation Systems in Large Buildings
National Research Council Canada
C.Y. Shaw December 1, 1999 View Article
Evaluating Ventilation in Multifamily Buildings
Home Energy Magazine Online
Vicky Hayes and Ian Shapiro-Baruch July/August 1994 View Article
95-TA33A.05: Improving the Evaluation of Building Ventilation
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Andrew K. Persily June 1995 View Article
Myths about Building Envelopes
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Andrew K. Persily March 1, 1999 View Article
Residential Ventilation and Latent Loads
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek April 1, 2002 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
Better Breathing Thanks to Good Science
Home Energy Magazine Online
Doug Garrett 2001 View Article
Moisture Control in Bathrooms
Home Energy Magazine Online
Marilou Cheple and Pat Huelman March/April, 1998 View Article
Sick Houses: Using Diagnostic Tools to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Home Energy Magazine Online
Scott Finley November/December 1997 View Article
Rain Penetration and Moisture Damage in Residential Construction
National Research Council Canada
J. Rousseau May 1984 View Article
Indoor Air Quality and Mold Prevention of the Building Envelope
Home Building Design Guide
Roger Morse, AIA and Don Acker, PE February 22, 2017 View Article
RR-0208: What You Need to Know About Mold
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek, Terry Brennan and Nathan Yost January 15, 2002 View Article
RR-0209: Mold Testing
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek, Terry Brennan and Nathan Yost January 15, 2002 View Article
RR-0210: Mold Remediation in Occupied Homes
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek, Terry Brennan and Nathan Yost January 15, 2002 View Article
RR-0211: Mold: Causes, Health Effects and Clean-Up
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek, Terry Brennan and Nathan Yost January 15, 2002 View Article
PA-0103: Moisture, Building Enclosures, and Mold – Part 1
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek December 1, 2001 View Article
CP-0932: Humidity Control in the Humid South
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek November 16, 1993 View Article
Mold and Moisture Dynamics
Whole Building Design Guide
Don Prowler, FAIA, Revised and expanded by Heinz Trechsel, R.A. FASTM December 19, 2016 View Article
RR-0995: Air Pressure and Building Envelopes
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek June 5, 1999 View Article
Mold & Mildew; Cleaning up your Flood Damaged Home: FEMA 606
FEMA
July 2007 View Article
A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and your Home
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
September 2012 View Article
Indoor Air Quality and Mold Prevention of the Building Envelope
Whole Building Design Guide
Roger Morse, AIA and Don Acker, PE Feb 22, 2017 View Article
Sick Houses – Using Diagnostic Tools to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Home Energy Magazine Online
Scott Finley November/December 1997 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
First Step in Cellulose Sealing: Spot the Style
Home Energy Magazine Online
Fred Lugano May/June 1998 View Article
Home Energy’s Consumer Guide to Insulation
Home Energy Magazine Online
Jeanne Byrne September/October 1996 View Article
Cheating – The Insulation Industry’s Dirty Secret
Home Energy Magazine Online
Michael Uniacke November, 2000 View Article
An Insulation Roundup
Home Energy Magazine Online
David Kaufman November 1, 2001 View Article
RR-0412: Insulation, Sheathings and Vapor Retarders
Building Science Corporation
Joseph Lstiburek November 1, 2004 View Article
Vermiculite Insulation Containing Asbestos
Canadian Centre Occupation Health and Safety (CCOHS)
View Article
Air Leakage Control
National Research Council Canada
M.E. Lux and W.C. Brown January 1989 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
ASHRAE Standard 189.1 – Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
Betterbricks Online Blog
Jeff Cole February 18, 2010 View Article
Building Better – How High-Efficiency Buildings Will Save Money and Reduce Global Warming (March 2010)
Environment America Research & Policy Center
Rob Kerth March 2010 View Article
Temperature Gradients through Building Envelopes
National Research Council Canada
J.K. Latta and G.K. Garden July 18, 2012 View Article
Thermal Bridges in Buildings
National Research Council Canada
W.P. Brown and A.G. Wilson July 18, 2012 View Article
Heat Transfer at Building Surfaces
National Research Council Canada
D.G. Stephenson July 18, 2012 View Article
Thermal Resistance of Building Insulation
National Research Council Canada
C.J. Shirtliffe May 1972 View Article
Energy Conservation in Schools
National Research Council Canada
L. Jones January 1980 View Article
Performance Testing Standards for Building
National Research Council Canada
R.F. Legget and N.B. Hutcheon December 1, 1979 View Article
Interior Lighting Design and Energy Conservation
National Research Council Canada
A.W. Levy November 1977 View Article
Space Heating and Energy Conservation
National Research Council Canada
D.G. Stephenson October 1971 View Article
New Energy Codes and Their Impact on Lighting Design
National Research Council Canada
G.R. Newsham 1994 View Article
Rehabilitation of Solid Masonry Walls
National Research Council Canada
V. Young-Benidickson December 1992 View Article
Energy Education: A Kilowatt is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Home Energy Magazine Online
Fairlie Firari September/October 1995 View Article
Energy Savings Rise High in Multifamily Buildings
Home Energy Magazine Online
Rick Diamond September/October 1995 View Article
Making Low Income Housing Affordable: The Northgate Retrofits
Home Energy Magazine Online
Chip Patullo March/April 1993 View Article
Selecting Windows for Energy Efficiency
Home Energy Magazine Online
Jeffrey L. Warner July/August 1995 View Article
ASHRAE Mulls Continuous Air Barriers
Building Design + Construction
Jeff Yoders March 1, 2006 View Article
Blueprint for Advancing High-Performance Homes
Issues in Science and Technology
James H. Turner Jr. and Ellen Larson Vaughan Winter 2012 View Article
The Observatoire BBA Examines Airtightness
TightVent Europe
Sebastien Lefeuvre September 2012 Newsletter View Article
Mandatory Energy-Reporting for Large Buildings Reaches Minneapolis Construction Dive Ron Gallagher Feb 14, 2013 View Article
Building Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure is Adopted by the City of Minneapolis
MEEA Unplugged Blog
Steve Kismohr Feb 12, 2013 View Article

Article Author(s) Date Issued View/Download
New Study Finds Americans Jumping Ahead in Energy Efficiency
The Rexel Foundation
June 11, 2013 View Article