An air barrier system is a system of building assemblies within the building enclosure—designed, installed and integrated in such a manner as to stop the uncontrolled flow of air into and out of the building enclosure.
Why use an air barrier system?
- Reduces building enclosure moisture problems
- Improves indoor air quality
- Reduces building heating and cooling costs
- Reduces greenhouse gas production
- Improves acoustical isolation
- Isolates the indoor environment
- Results in sustainable, durable buildings
Keep in mind that:
- Agencies of the US Government require them on federally funded building projects.
- Several states now include air barrier requirements in their building codes.
- The US Department of Energy has stated that up to 40% of the energy used to heat and cool a building is due to uncontrolled air leakage.
- The US Department of Energy has instituted a program with a goal to reduce building energy consumption by 25% by the year 2010 and by 50% by the year 2020.
Education for Design Professionals
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Air Barrier Materials
Air barrier materials are defined by their air permeance. To be defined as a air barrier material the air permeance must be equal to or less than 0.02L/(s•m2) @ 75Pa (0.004 cfm/ft2 @ 1.57 psf) when tested in accordance with ASTM E2178. Keep in mind that air permeance is the amount of air that migrates through materials and not through holes or gaps.
The ASTM E2178 has provisions to test rigid materials, flexible materials and fluid applied materials. When flexible materials are tested, a screen is used to provide support. When fluid applied materials are tested, CMU is used to provide a rough substrate.
Air Barrier Construction Design Details
View our list of ABAA Evaluated Air Barrier Assemblies that have completed a ASTM E2357 Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies. This test combines the primary air barrier material with supporting air barrier accessories such as transition membranes and sealants to form a complete air barrier assembly, identical to how a wall would be designed and built in your construction project.
For each air barrier assembly listing, you will find air barrier construction design details from the manufacturer which you can download and use in your project design. Click here to download these design details.
A number of general details were developed when the State of Massachusetts adopted air barriers in their current energy code. The details provide a number of wall systems and provides general guidance into some of the design considerations: http://www.mass.gov/....
Want to learn more about air barriers, their use in construction, cost benefits and design guidelines ? Check out our technical library and air barrier materials page.
ABAA Air Barrier Master Specifications
ABAA Quality Assurance Program
The ABAA Quality Assurance Program was developed specifically for the professional building enclosure community. The program consists of 9 components all working together to provide you with the highest level of confidence that the air barrier will be installed correctly and to high industry standards. ABAA's QAP is modeled after the standards laid out in the ISO 9000 program.
Why Specify the ABAA Quality Assurance Program ?
The ABAA on-site quality assurance program is a comprehensive program to increase the level of quality on your opaque air barrier wall installation. Learn about the benefits of specifying the ABAA QAP program and how you can do it !
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Need to find an accredited ABAA contractor in your area? Looking for a manufacturer or distributor of a specific product? Design Professionals with experience in air barriers across the country? Use our online search tool to locate someone closest to you.
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