July 21, 2017

Minimize Air Infiltration with Bautex Wall Assembly

Continuous insulation, applied across all opaque exterior wall sections of a building, maximizes thermal efficiency and helps minimize air infiltration. Air infiltration (or leakage) in a building is the uncontrolled flow of air through cracks and gaps in the building envelope.  Air infiltration allows fresh air in and musty air out and can be an important part of a healthy living environment. However, unintentional air infiltration can hinder the controlled airflow patterns and change the temperature and humidity conditions within a structure. Air infiltration commonly occurs around thermal bridges, door and window frames, poorly insulated attics, electrical outlets, chimneys, fireplaces, and dryer vents. Uncontrolled air infiltration lowers the effective R-value* of the wall assembly and reduces the air quality and energy efficiency of a building. In order to minimize air infiltration within a structure, continuous insulation, along with an air and moisture barrier, is imperative to a building's design.

The most effective methods of applying continuous insulation around a building's envelope follow the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE 90.1) and the International Energy Conservation Code (2015 IECC) codes and standards. The ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013 defines continuous insulation as insulation that is uncompressed and continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges.These standards specify the amount of insulation required, based on the building’s climate zone, to minimize air infiltration, stop thermal bridging and increase the effective R-value in a wall assembly. The ASHRAE 90.1 and the 2015 IECC, in fact, require continuous insulation in both residential and commercial structures. The 2015 IECC also requires air leakage testing of a building envelope in accordance with either ASTM E 779 or ASTM E 1827. ASTM E 779 test method quantifies the air tightness of a building’s envelope utilizing fan pressurization. ASTM E 1827 test method quantifies the air tightness of a building’s envelope utilizing an orifice blower door. The most effective method of minimizing air infiltration is by installing continuous insulation, along with an air and moisture barrier, in accordance with  ASHRAE 90.1 and 2015 IECC codes and standards to any opaque part of the building envelope.

Bautex Wall System Achieves Continuous Insulation and Minimizes Air Infiltration

Bautex Insulated concrete blocks are the perfect choice for best practices for continuous installation for commercial and residential buildings. The use of Bautex Wall System minimizes air infiltration and thermal convection** and creates an energy efficient structure that saves building owners money for years to come.

Wrapping a building’s envelope with continuous insulation, along with an air and moisture barrier, minimizes air infiltration, increases the effective R-value, reduces thermal convection and provides a comfortable indoor environment. The Bautex Block gives contractors and architects an efficient continuous insulation method to minimize air infiltration, reduce energy loss and ensure savings for owners of both residential and commercial buildings. For more information on how continuous insulation can lessen air infiltration visit Bautex™ Systems.

*The effective R-value of a building's wall assembly is a measure of its resistance to airflow. The effective R-value includes all the materials used in its construction: the drywall, studs, fiberglass batts, plywood or OSB sheathing, water control plane, and siding. The lower the R-value, the higher the conductivities of the wall assembly and the more susceptible a wall assembly is to air infiltration.

**Thermal convection is the transfer of heat energy from a hotter place to a cooler place by the movement of fluids (usually liquids and gases).  For instance, if it is warmer inside a building, then it is outside the building, the hotter air will move towards the cooler air. Minimizing air infiltration (hot air flowing towards cooler air) is important for limiting the loss of heat energy inside the building.  

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