Condensation has confused and frustrated the construction industry for decades. It can occur on visible surfaces or within concealed assemblies, such as wall or roof cavities, and on just about any type of building material.
While heating exterior penetrations wastes energy and increases carbon emissions and operating costs, chilling interior structures reduces comfort and allows condensation and mold to form on adjacent surfaces. Therefore, one must look for an alternative solution.
Many conflate R-value with good thermal performance or insulating value. The belief is the higher the R-value, the better the thermal performance. However, as a blanket statement, this could not be any further from the truth.
Insulation manufacturers have devised numerous ways to improve the thermal performance of their products. Adding carbon or alumina particles to expanded polystyrene (EPS) increases infrared reflectance, and hence boosts R-value. For buildings that need heat stopped during the day and released at night, there are phase-change materials.
A few blocks from the High Line, the restored elevated railway bed that now sports pedestrian walkways amid a landscape of greenery, New York City’s Chelsea Green is a 14-story luxury condominium from Alfa Development.