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Building Envelope Materials Research

Integrating advanced building construction at the urban scale

For more than 35 years, ORNL’s Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research Group has been using its expertise in heat, air, and moisture transport to develop and evaluate new building envelope materials and assemblies that reduce energy use, enhance occupant comfort, are moisture durable, and/or provide grid services. To this end, the Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research Group collaborates with ORNL researchers that specialize in material science, polymeric chemistry, advanced manufacturing, imaging and machine learning, advanced composites, sensors and controls, and roll-to-roll manufacturing. These collaborations also include industry partners for the commercialization of developed technologies.  

 

Current Focus Areas

  • High-R insulation materials
  • Metrology for high-R insulation materials
  • Self-healing materials
  • Advanced building construction
  • Thermal energy storage
  • Envelope retrofits
  • Moisture durability
  • Grid services
  • Highly-insulated windows
  • Controls for shading systems

 

Capabilities and facilities

  • Advanced hygrothermal simulations
  • Characterization of hygrothermal properties
  • Large-scale chambers for wall and roof assemblies
  • Natural exposure test facilities for assembly evaluations
  • Unoccupied test buildings for whole-building evaluations