Thermal Inefficiencies in Building Enclosures - Causes of Moisture Related Performance Problems

November 29, 2009
Publication: Forensic Engineering 2009: Pathology of the Built Environment - Proceedings of the Fifth Congress on Forensic Engineering, Nov 11-14, 2009, ASCE p 43-54
Author(s): Totten, Paul E. Pazera, Marcin

Abstract: In many buildings, thermal inefficiencies result in condensation problems. Some of these problems are readily visible, such as condensation on window surfaces, but some occur within our wall and roof systems. Condensation problems occur for several reasons, such as elevated humidity and stagnation of air. We will discuss condensation related moisture problems, their cause and proposed remedial options. We will focus on presenting investigative approaches and tools used to evaluate these inefficiencies such as visual observation, tracer smoke testing, infrared thermography as well as thermal analysis. We will discuss specialty building considerations using examples from past investigations. We will discuss considerations for structural retrofits for buildings such as blast resistance, seismic upgrades or structural retrofit for stabilization where the structural elements used form thermal bridges. We will discuss considerations for architectural features on buildings such as light shelvesand sun shades and methods to reduce thermal bridging at these elements.