There has been an increased focus in the role and importance of the building envelope over the last several years. Many buildings are now designed to be "tight”; that is, the amount of external air that comes across the building facade into the occupied space is limited. This allows a greater control of HVAC systems and limits any heating and cooling losses.
There are significant implications arising from keeping a building tight, including the obvious role it has in saving energy, but also the importance of controlling some indoor environment quality parameters such as temperature and the subsequent productivity outcomes that can arise from this. Moreover, creating a non-permeable building envelope becomes critical for technical and sensitive facilities, such as research facilities, hospitals, and laboratories. In these environments, the introduction of unwanted outside air to the workspace via the building envelope can be detrimental to the research taking place.
Conversely, some building envelopes are designed to allow some air to pass through the facade (building envelope leakage), often contributing to increased ventilation within the occupied space. This is particularly important for the control of volatile organic compounds in a new space.
CETEC can provide specialist consulting advice with respect to the permeability of building envelopes or the facade leakage and the advantages and disadvantages for the building and occupants. Furthermore, CETEC is able to quantitatively assess the building envelope during construction. This has become increasingly important for verification and has assisted with the awarding of Green Star credits for certification by the Green Building Council of Australia.
Our certified equipment can test to a number of standards including ATTMA, ASTM E779 and ISO 9972 for Green Star, Passivhaus and ASHRAE requirements. Furthermore, we are able to use a combination of techniques to determine air leakage points such as smoke testing and thermal imaging.
In addition to the assessment of building air tightness or building envelope leakage (BEL) testing, commonly known as blower door testing, CETEC can also utilise similar methodologies to assess the air exchange effectiveness of occupied spaces. This is an important tool for understanding occupant comfort, the development of methods to cope with “stale air” or “dead pockets", and is also becoming progressively more important for building accreditation schemes, such as Green Star.
Contact CETEC to learn more about how we are able to assist you in building air leakage, envelope testing; air exchange effectiveness testing or certification requirements for your next project.