Building a perfect wall

Sept. 25, 2017 | by Steve Arel
Building a perfect wall

The thermal envelope of a building is arguably the most pivotal to the structure’s performance.

Gaps, holes and leaky seams – while small – can significantly hamper efficiency.

When it comes to building a solid wall, perfection is attainable. Just ask Patti Gunderson, research engineer with Home Innovation Research Labs, and Patrick Huelman, associate professor of building and energy systems at the University of Minnesota.

The duo will show participants at next month’s Energy & Environmental Building Alliance High Performance Home Summit how to construct what’s known as the “perfect wall.” They’re hosting a session titled “Building a Better Wall: Principles & Innovative Solutions.”

In it, Huelman and Gunderson will show how to build homes with superior comfort, efficiency, durability and indoor air quality.

Part of the key, they say, is wall design that must appropriately control the transfer of heat, water, air and vapor while also being durable, constructible, affordable and accessible. 

The presentation by Gunderson and Huelman will describe the principles and applications for robust, high-performance building enclosures that go beyond codes for superior comfort, efficiency, durability and indoor air quality. It will cover the design and delivery of two “perfect wall” systems that provide a robust enclosure solution for affordable zero-energy-ready homes. 

The presentation also will introduce “MonoPath,” a new structural system that simplifies and speeds up construction, saving enough money on the structure for investment in high-performing exterior control layers.

Chris Laumer-Giddens, co-architect of the Proud Green Home at Serenbe in Georgia, puts considerable focus on the structure’s building envelope. He says achieving a perfect wall entails taking into account a number of factors, both inside and outside the home.

“Think of a beer cooler,” Laumer-Giddens said. “When sealed tight, ice takes a long time to melt. … The building enclosure is the crux of a high-performance home.” 

To register for the High Performance Home Summit, click here.


Topics: Building Green, Exteriors, Thermal Envelope

Companies: EEBA


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