As manufacturers introduce materials with new properties and attempt to push the boundaries of building envelope construction, it is crucial the industry agrees on terminology for communicating the specific functions and purpose of these materials to avoid confusion and costly errors. In this regard, the term ‘air/vapor barrier’ is misleading and should be replaced with more appropriate terminology.
Building industry professionals largely agree on the importance of moisture control methods, but there is frequent confusion about the use of vapor and air barriers. To make the right decision on which methods and materials to include in a building envelope, it is critical to understand the simple, yet significant, differences between air and vapor barriers, and their role as part of an effective system.
Buildings account for as much as 40 percent of all energy consumed in the United States according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).1 If the country is to address carbon emissions and its contribution to climate change, this needle must move.
The Glen Ellyn police station in Illinois had been operating from the village’s downtown civic center for nearly four decades and was due for replacement. After reviewing several methods and systems, Jonathan Tallman, regional public safety director for Chicago-based architects Dewberry and project manager for the Glen Ellyn police station project concluded new advancements in masonry wall systems were ideal for the new station.
Polyisocyanurate insulation is gaining popularity as it enhances the masonry cavity wall’s inherent performance traits because of its complementary thermal conduct and moisture, fire, and solvent resistance.