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Air Barrier Consulting

Modern construction practices are increasingly embracing the concept of an air barrier within the building envelope. Many high-performance buildings now in operation owe their success largely to this passive and hidden system.

In addition to improving building energy performance, air barriers reduce the risk of damage due to condensation, contribute to proper sizing of mechanical systems and reduce the impact of wind driven rain.

At Morrison Hershfield, we take steps to mitigate this risk by ensuring proper detailing of the system, closing the gaps at the interfaces between the various systems to secure a continuous air barrier, and quality assurance inspections at the time of installation, leveraging technology such as infrared thermographic scanning to pinpoint where additional air sealing is required.

Our Experience

We have worked extensively with contractors and architects on the appropriate installation of air barriers since the mid-1980’s. We have published articles and written technical guidelines for industry associations, such as the Air Barrier Association of America, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, National Research Council and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

We began conducting Whole Building Air Leakage Testing for the US Army Corps of Engineers, the first agency to require air barrier testing.

In recent years, a number of local jurisdictions have adopted this requirement. Since that time, we have tested all types of buildings from warehouses and maintenance facilities to 40-story high-rises and large 100,000 sq. ft. footprint garden-style apartments.

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