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Invisible Improvement: Air Tightening an Office in a Historic Timber Pier

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Invisible Improvement: Air Tightening an Office in a Historic Timber Pier

August 1 @ 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT

Historic structures provide a significant cultural value and in the case of the Seattle waterfront, link the maritime period around Seattle’s founding to the current tourist and commercial center of the city. In addition to contributing to the local heritage and historic fabric, existing buildings generally also contribute disproportionately to the energy consumption of our building stock. Pier 56 was constructed in 1900 over Elliott Bay as a timber structure and for much of its history was a base fornautical transportation. Today, the lower floor of the building houses several retail and restaurant tenants. The upper floor, approximately 30,000 square feet, is leased by the architecture firm Mithun. Mithun leased the space in 2000 and as part of a lease renewal in 2020, completed tenant improvements including air sealing. The goal of the air tightening measures was to reduce energy use and improve occupant comfort, which was a challenge for a vaulted exposed timber structure with no cooling and no perimeter heat distribution. This session is a case study covering the pre-improvement multi-fan air barrier testing, diagnostics completed during testing to determine leak locations, remedial work completed during construction, and the final air barrier test. We will also include post-occupancy energy use comparison and occupant descriptions of comfort improvements.

Learning Objectives:

  1.  Identify at least three locations of air leakage in a historic timber framed structure.
  2.  Establish a methodology for determining, designing, and confirming air tightening measures in existing buildings.
  3. Evaluate the value of different air sealing measures on occupant comfort.
  4. Understand the methods used to validate performance improvements associated with air sealing old buildings

Jeff Speert, AIA, LEED AP

Jeff is a Principal and Office Director at 4EA Building Science His passion for building sustainability and durability; and fascination with tectonics and construction methods,
led him to a building science career. Jeff is a building science generalist with an interest in elements that provide energy efficiency, including air barriers and thermal bridging. His technical depth in building science and foundation in architecture and design have helped build the 4EA culture – tackling the challenging task of harmonizing aesthetic vision with the high-performance demands of contemporary building enclosures.


August 1
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
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