Ryerson University Graduate study on the “Best” Envelope Design

To meet the 2012 building codes and beyond, envelopes with higher R values and good air tightness are required. There is a need for industry professionals and researchers to work together in developing appropriate new wood frame envelope systems that address thermal requirements economically and practically.

Researchers will take input from industry, current wall constructions and analyze the thermal characteristics of alternative envelope systems and the interface details. The study will be based on wood frame building envelope wall assemblies such as nodes where walls meet basement concrete slabs, joist headers and roof joists will be studied, including window details and thermal breaks. Detailed investigation of common and progressive envelope designs will provide meaningful data informing the design/build community of the strengths and weaknesses of various design options including constructability, cost and performance.

This study will provide a comprehensive thermal performance assessment of alternative residential building envelope designs that achieve higher thermal standards that will be required for future housing. Detailed understanding of the moisture condensation and thermal behaviour of wall assemblies will present the forward-looking building community with means of keeping ahead of building code requirements and ahead of competing building companies.

The objective of this study is to determine the performance and environmental impact of a variety of wood-frame envelope assemblies suitable for new construction of residential houses that achieve good thermal performance. Various envelope designs will be rated according to a series of criteria and ratings based on the US HERS system.

The findings will be summarized in a detailed report, including itemized accounts of the rating scores, by Rick Roos, Ryerson Graduate student.

A summary of Rick’s work can be viewed here: Best Wall Study.