It’s About the Water

One could boil down our job as enclosure consultants to this: help people to keep water from accumulating where it shouldn’t.

Water causes all kinds of trouble with many building materials. Wood rots, steel corrodes, masonry spalls and cracks, microbes and fungi grow. Gypsum that once formed solid panels turns to mud.

We call these parts of the building—the ones damaged by water—the “moisture-sensitive” components. The main goal of the building envelope is to protect these moisture-sensitive components from exposure to water. Sounds simple, right?

Unfortunately nature conspires to foil our water control efforts in a variety of ways. In this post we’ll explore some less-than-obvious ways that water ends up where it can cause problems.

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Roof Wind Design with Jennifer Keegan, Jim Kirby and Ben Meyer (Episode #3)

Why do some roofs end up in the parking lot? Learn the answer to that question and much more in this this information-packed episode where I discuss the ins and outs of wind uplift design for low-slope roofing with Jennifer Keegan (LinkedIn), James R. Kirby (LinkedIn) and Benjamin Meyer (LinkedIn) of the GAF Building & Roofing Science team (LinkedIn).

We walked through the process and talked about what each member of the project team is responsible for. There is a ton of great content here for anyone designing or installing low-slope roofing. Even if you are experienced in this area you might learn something new.

#3: Roof Wind Design with Jennifer Keegan, Jim Kirby and Ben Meyer of GAF Pushing the Envelope

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Adrian Lowenstein on High Performance Construction, BERDO, Local Law 97 and Energy Codes (#2)

Adrian Lowenstein, PE, MBA (on LinkedIn) is the National Business Development Manager for Skyline Windows. In this episode we discuss how the AEC industry can move towards higher performance and lower energy use, including a couple of relatively new local ordinances: Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) in Boston and Local Law 97 in New York City. We also touch on topics such as pre-fabricated pre-glazed wall construction techniques, the opportunities for higher performance afforded by advancing technology and project team relationships that lead to better project outcomes.

#2: Adrian Lowenstein of Skyline Windows on High Performance Construction, BERDO, Local Law 97, and Energy Codes Pushing the Envelope

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Why Roof Inspections are Important

Roofs are often ignored until a problem shows up inside the building that can’t be ignored. We posted about this on LinkedIn today.

The issue is that roofs are hard to see. You have to actively decide to go up there and look around, or have someone do it, to know what’s going on. If you wait until water shows up in the office or bedroom downstairs—or part of the roof is in the parking lot because it blew off—then it is too late. Damage from a roof leak that has made its way into the building is often extensive, and far more expensive to fix than just the cost of repairing the roofing alone.

Roof inspections, performed regularly, help to solve this problem. Benefits of annual (at least) roof inspections include:

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How Water Moves: Airflow and Diffusion

Building science and building enclosure consulting is often all about understanding, and controlling, how water moves through a building. Water is the cause of most of the problems we are trying to solve (or, ideally, prevent in the first place). In order to solve those problems, we need to understand how the water is getting to where it is not supposed to be.

Liquid water intrusion into buildings is the main thing to worry about, and there are a number of ways that liquid water can penetrate a building’s defenses. Those pathways, though, will be the subject of a future post. Today, we’re going to focus on the oft-misunderstood water transport mechanisms of airflow and water vapor diffusion.

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