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Estimating the Impact of Air Leakage on the Energy Performance and Moisture Control of Building Envelopes Using an Easy-to-Use Online Calculator
December 2, 2021 @ 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST
The US Department of Energy Windows and Building Envelope Research and Development Roadmap for Emerging Technologies states that air infiltration is responsible for 20% of primary energy consumption attributable to the building envelopes of buildings. In 2016 -2017, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Air Barrier Association of America collaborated to develop a web-based calculator that can be used to estimate the energy impacts of air barrier systems. This user-friendly calculator is free to the public and uses the simulation results of the whole building energy simulation tool EnergyPlus and the airflow simulation tool CONTAM. In 2018 -2019, the calculator was expanded to add moisture transfer calculations. Air leakage through the building envelope can have a significant impact on the overall moisture transfer through building envelopes and its associated impacts. In 2021, the capabilities of the calculator were expanded again adding additional commercial building types and a residential building to the inventory of buildings included in the tool’s database. This presentation will describe the development of the tool, detail the procedures used to calculate energy loss and moisture transfer due to air leakage, and provides examples of the tool’s outputs.
- The significance air tightness plays in the overall energy efficiency of buildings.
- How much money a building owner can save by requiring improved levels of air tightness for their buildings; and
- What is the interaction between moisture and air leakage.
André Desjarlais is the Group Leader for the Building Envelopes Research Program at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has been involved in building envelope and materials research for 40 years, first as a consultant and, for the last 22 years, at ORNL. He is active in the building industry, participating in ASHRAE, ASTM, Cool Roof Rating Council, SPRI, RCI Foundation, Roof Industry Committee on Weather Issues, Federal Roofing Committee, and the Building Environment and Thermal Envelope Council. Areas of expertise include building envelope and material energy efficiency, moisture control, and durability.