Air Barrier Testing Methods and Performance Requirements
Air barrier testing methods are key to developing proper installation guidelines and best practices.
Air leakage has a significant effect on HVAC use, one of the largest uses of energy in a typical building. As a result, professionals must understand how a continuous air barrier system contributes to an energy-efficient building envelope.
About 40 percent of the world’s energy is consumed by the building sector, and about 37 percent of this is for heating, cooling, and ventilation.1
The results of the air barrier testing discussed in the longer article linked below show that air infiltration rates measured for air barrier assemblies constructed using DuPont™ Tyvek® WB – and tested under the severe conditions of the ASTM E2357 standard – can significantly outperform requirements under ASHRAE 90.1 and ASTM E1677 standards.
Why Testing Matters
While the air infiltration property of a material can be measured in the laboratory, installation methods and quality of workmanship in the field are critical to “whole-building air leakage.” Air barrier testing is a key to establishing the best installation methods for a system that will perform in real-world conditions.
This article reviews test methods and performance requirements for air barriers, focusing on assemblies constructed with mechanically fastened membranes, also known as building wraps. It also focuses on the test method ASTM E2357-05, a stringent laboratory procedure that can also be applied to site mockups.
1Testing Mechanically Fastened Air Barrier Systems Under Wind Pressure; Maria Spinu, PhD, CSI, LEED AP, Alan Learned, PhD; The Construction Specifier, December 2009