Last month BEC (Building Enclosure Council) Cleveland and AIA Cleveland hosted the National BEC Symposium on High Performing Building Enclosures. Bialosky + Partners played an active role in the organization of the event and four of our team members (Jacob Stollfuss, Cliff Collins, Matt MacRaild, and Paul Taylor) participated in the learning experience. We are very passionate about building science because buildings matter. As the need for energy reduction in buildings increases it becomes even more important to understand how to build correctly; how to build healthy, durable, and sustainable buildings. Because construction techniques, technologies, materials, and codes continue to advance at accelerating rates it becomes increasingly important to learn and also to educate. That is what this event was about. It was about sharing knowledge to lift the entire industry up, and then inspiring everyone to keep pushing forward, continuing to educate ourselves, our clients, contractors and other building professionals. There were 250+ people in attendance including architects, engineers and building scientists, however there were very few contractors and only one code official in attendance. Creating the best high performing buildings requires a true interdisciplinary team effort. It is our job to take the lead in this and to make education a foundational theme throughout our careers. There were five educational sessions during the day-long event and several local design firms contributed to a design exhibit, curated by Jacob Stollfuss and Paul Taylor, which featured high performing building designs. The following are a few of the highlights from the day’s sessions: Why Buildings Matter Chris Mathis President / Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) Chairman / Mathis Consulting Company (MC2)
- What we build matters: because buildings consume 2/3 of total fossil fuels used per year to construct and inhabit.
- Design choices impact our future: When we build each decision we make now will effect the next 100 years.
- Use water wisely: It takes 30-50 gallons of water per 1KWH of electricity to cool a power plant.
- Set high standards initially: Codes are a minimum; we tend to wait for disaster, and then react by upping the code required standards.
- Roofs matter: Protective Membrane Roofs are the best, most durable roofs: Ballast o/ Insulation Board o/ Control Layers o/ Structure.
- Think thoroughly through white roofs: White ‘cool’ roofs are good but they have two to three times the hours of condensation as a black roof, therefore need better moisture control. Firstly they need an air barrier so vapor doesn’t travel into the system through air movement (this has to be an added material to ensure continuity). Secondly they need carefully considered Vapor control (materials themselves tend to provide this – XPS insulation, for example).
- Know the truth about dew points: Dew points don’t occur within materials, they occur on the material’s surface.
- Do the right analysis: Important to do Steady State Modeling, not Dew Point Analysis.
- Mind the masonry: Insulating walls of historic masonry buildings will not damage masonry from freeze-thaw.
- Temperature tells all: A cold wall is wet. A warm one is dry.
Parapet Wall Design: Water Infiltration, Air Tightness, and Energy Efficiency Considerations Matthew Novesky, RA, NCARB Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
- Learn from precedents: There have been many failures from many different building conditions that can serve to teach us lessons. Some basic causes of moisture problems were identified and presented to the group as case studies. Examples highlighted how moisture damage was remedied in high rise buildings.
The State of the Industry: High-Performance Building Enclosure Panel Discussion
- Preach what you practice: Reiterated the importance of continuing education for practicing professionals and the responsibility that we have to teach others about strategies for achieving high performing buildings.
This symposium was a great event that inspired our firm to keep pushing forward as relates to high performing building enclosures. And it inspired us to continue to be leaders in the field and educate ourselves, our clients, and all others in the building industry. Stay tuned for more on this important and exciting (in a nerdy way) topic.