US Army Corps of Engineers High Performance Building Envelope Symposium

March 6-8, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas: High Performance Building Envelope Symposium by the Army of Corps of Engineers and the Passive House Institute.

HPSB Flyer (PDF)

High Performance Building Envelope Workshop Draft Program (PDF)

It’s great to see the Army Corps of Engineers take such an interest in the Passive House standard for high performance buildings.

Joe Lstiburek showing two images of finned radiators, one of which won an award from AIA Chicago

The symposium featured lectures from leaders in building science (alphabetical by last name):

  • Wagdy Anis, Wiss Janney Elstner Associates
  • Lee Durston, Brown Connally Rowan Architects
  • Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House Institute (by video)
  • Matthew Heron, Pie Forensic Consultants
  • Linda Jeng, Dow Building Solutions
  • Berthold Kaufmann, Passive House Institute
  • Mark Lawton, Morrison Hershfield
  • Joe Lstiburek, Building Science Corporation
  • Tomas O’Leary, Passive House Academy
  • Ray Patenaude, The Holmes Agency
  • Craig Shipp, Shwinco
  • Alexander Zhivov, US Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL)

While the focus was on high performance building envelopes, the lectures also included discussion of ventilation with heat recovery, high efficiency HVAC systems, and mold prevention.

Based on Lstiburek’s explanation of the “perfect wall”, I like to think of the building envelope in terms of control layers, which must be as continuous as possible. From exterior to interior:

  • exterior finish (aesthetic control layer)
  • cladding (physical intrusion control layer)
  • water control layer
  • thermal control layer (insulation)
  • vapor control layer
  • air control layer
  • structure (elements can be intermittent, of course, but connections must be continuous)
  • service cavity
  • interior finish (protective control layer)
  • interior finish (aesthetic control layer)

A single material can act as one or more of these control layers. For instance, glazing performs all of these functions, including, to a limited extent, structural support.