RDH Building Science

The history of earlier attempts to improve energy performance in buildings can provide useful lessons for green design. The implications of increases in insulation levels and increases in airtightness for building performance, and in particular for enclosure performance, were often not fully understood, resulting in a range of problems.

This paper presents the results of an investigation into the implementation of green building strategies and their effects on building enclosure durability and performance. Various green building rating systems are reviewed and the strategies typically applied to achieve specific ratings are analyzed. Based on surveys of practitioners, case studies of completed green buildings, and practical experience of building enclosure design and construction, the positive and negative impacts of these practices, potential or actual, are documented. The conclusions of the study and recommendations for improving green building strategies and communication between building enclosure practitioners and green building designers are presented. This paper is based in part on research carried out for a study commissioned by CMHC, which addressed the performance and durability of both the building enclosure and of HVAC systems, with an emphasis on residential buildings.

The paper was presented by Paul Kernan at the 2007 Canadian Conference on Building Science and Technology

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