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Data, Communication Stressed at Conference

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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At Durability + Design’s inaugural Material Selection Conference on Tuesday (Sept. 26), common themes throughout the day were data collection and communication. Though different challenges were discussed—everything from air leakage to moisture damage—the basic premise of knowing the materials inside and out was repeated often and met with enthusiasm among attendees, including architects, contractors and manufacturers.

The conference, which was sponsored by W.R. Meadows and DuPont Tyvek, was split into two half-day sessions. The morning topics featured a concentration on the capability of coatings to manage moisture intrusion into exterior walls, and the afternoon program examined the ability of liquid-applied air barriers to limit heat, air and moisture transport through walls.

Images:Technology Publishing Co.

At Durability + Design’s inaugural Material Selection Conference on Tuesday (Sept. 26) common themes throughout the day were data collection and communication.

The panel discussions, however, were the most unique feature of the conference. With a panel for each session, attendees had the opportunity to hear manufacturer representatives explain their opinions on a variety of scenarios and recommend their applicable products—taking the generic nature out of a typical conference discussion panel.

Morning Session: Wall Coating Performance

Andre O. Desjarlais, program manager for the Building Envelope Systems Research Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, opened the day with the “Introduction to WUFI Software” session, which he opened with asking, “Who here doesn’t know what WUFI is?”

One hand went up out of dozens in attendance.

In response, Desjarlais launched into a description about why hygrothermal modeling using WUFI is necessary, particularly with the ever-changing materials that are brought into the industry—not to mention the ever-increasing push for energy efficiency.

The goals for this modeling include building energy-efficient and moisture-tolerant walls, roofs and basements that can handle reasonable quantities of moisture ingress; developing standards that lead to durable designs; supplying the industry with hygrothermal models that will allow for the design of durable building envelopes; and developing adequate databases that facilitate the use of these models.

Running the WUFI model yields a lot of data, Desjarlais noted, and all of that data needs to be understood.

“People come to a one- or two-session class that I teach, and they think they’re an expert,” he said, adding that understanding the data collected and then using it appropriately are equally important.

Out of the eight scenarios presented by moderator and conference chairman Kenneth A. Trimber, of KTA-Tator Inc., in the panel discussion, “Performance on Exterior Walls of Specific Coating and Water Repellent Brands,” the sixth scenario, which revolved around a hypothetical repainting, garnered the most conversation.

That sentiment was echoed by Kevin Brown, of KTA-Tator Inc., who took the floor next with his session, “The Effect of Permeance on Exterior Wall Coating Performance.”

While Brown brought WUFI into his conversation with regard to wall coating specifications, he covered other factors as well, such as how the geographical location of a project would influence permeance.

Brown showed models that compared Seattle, Miami, Providence, Colorado Springs and Memphis, and discussed the regional differences that came with those locations and how they impact wall coatings—specifically coating maintenance and coating layers.

Using all of that data, Brown said, “Answers begin to emerge regarding how many times an exterior wall can be repainted before there is risk of moisture-related problems.”

Out of the eight scenarios presented by moderator and conference chairman Kenneth A. Trimber, of KTA-Tator Inc., in the panel discussion, “Performance on Exterior Walls of Specific Coating and Water Repellent Brands,” the sixth scenario, which revolved around a hypothetical repainting, garnered the most conversation.

Representatives from BASF, Edison Coatings, Euclid, Keim, Prosoco and Sto Corp. all participated in the conversation, and went back and forth on scenario No. 6, which read:

“Maintenance of existing coatings on a building in Pittsburgh on which existing paint is blistering and peeling and walls are damp.”

Many commented on how risky the project would be, with Sto Corp. representative Chuck Duffin commenting that those kinds of projects “keep the phones ringing.” The Euclid representative, Jennifer Crisman, joked that the more risk-averse company, such as hers, would just pass along such a lead to her “new friends at Sto Corp.”

Andre O. Desjarlais, program manager for the Building Envelope Systems Research Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, opened the day with the “Introduction to WUFI Software” session, which he opened with asking, “Who here doesn’t know what WUFI is?”

Edison Coatings representative—and founder—Michael Edison rounded out the discussion saying there, in fact, was no discussion.

“The answer is just no,” he said. “There is no maintenance,” adding that in such an instance, all existing coating would need to be removed.

Afternoon Session: Air Leakage and Air Barrier Performance

Desjarlais took the opening act for the second time to present another tool in the proverbial tool belt: the energy savings calculator.

In the session titled, “Modeling Building Envelope Energy Efficiency and Developing a Web-Based Energy Savings Calculator for Building Envelope Air Tightness,” Desjarlais explained the use of this calculator, developed by ORNL, along with quality assurance and installation requirements for liquid-applied air barriers.

Some challenges, he noted, are that air leakage rates of a building depend on multiple variables, including envelope airtightness, HVAC system operation, occupancy, weather and the stack effect.

The whole building computer simulation looks at factors such as location, building types, floor area, air leakage rates and energy costs.

All of that calculating is used to make sure the performance objectives, whatever they may be, are achieved, which is the lane that David de Sola, of 3iVE LLC, delved further into during his presentation following Desjarlais entitled, “Quality Assurance and Installation Requirements for Liquid-Applied Air Barriers.”

“I love that the name of this conference is durability and design,” de Sola said, “Because that’s what I do every day when I go out, I try to find out how can I make buildings last longer.”

De Sola covered how to integrate design objectives and exterior performance objectives with the goal of the building itself. Is the building realistically expected to last 100 years? Or would 30 years be sufficient?

The panel discussions, however, were the most unique feature of the conference. With a panel for each session, attendees had the opportunity to hear manufacturer representatives explain their opinions on a variety of scenarios and recommend their applicable products—taking the generic nature out of a typical conference discussion panel.

He also discussed other variables, specifically environmental challenges, noting a rather extreme example of an exterior that protected the building against snow and ice just fine, but not the wildlife that lived in that climate.

“Sometimes we have to take into account more than meets the eye,” he said.

The last facet of the conference—the second panel titled, “Fluid-Applied Air Barriers Product and Installation Considerations”—echoed sentiments from the first panel, mainly “ask all of the questions.”

The discussion featured representatives from Sto Corp., GCP Applied Technologies, DuPont Protection Solutions, Prosoco, Henry Company and W.R. Meadows, who led the discussion for even the simplest scenarios, such as “a new academic building in Pittsburgh with no unique challenges.”

“I would start by asking about 30 minutes’ worth of questions,” said Tyson Lodge, technical services manager with a focus on building envelope solutions at Sto Corp.

Lodge, as well as the other panelists, engaged throughout the hour-and-a-half-long discussion, all the way to the end in a scenario that took panelists to sweltering Yuma, Arizona, for a new climate studies library, completed with zero carbon emissions and LEED v4 conformance.

“Consult your manufacturer,” Lodge said. “That’s the drum I’m beating today.”

Heads from not only the manufacturers in the audience, but also the architects and contractors, too, nodded, signaling that those in attendance of the inaugural Material Selection Conference will recall this year’s discussions as they move forward in their respective air barrier and wall coating performance projects.

   

Tagged categories: Air barriers; Building envelope; Conferences; Water repellents

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