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Buildings—Pushing the envelope

Topic: Clean Energy

An online tool developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory provides architects and engineers a fast and efficient way to assess the performance of a building’s envelope design before construction begins. The Building Science Advisor allows builders to evaluate the moisture durability of the envelope, or exterior, of residential buildings. “Most building envelope issues are associated with moisture problems,” ORNL’s Andre Desjarlais said. “With BSA, we’re guiding builders through the design process by identifying features that impact durability.” The tool helps builders make better-informed decisions for energy efficiency through two pathways—expert or educational. “The expert pathway gives builders the ability to input construction plan information uninterrupted, and the educational path guides users through each step of the material selection process, providing feedback so that the user can adjust plans in real-time,” he said. The BSA will be expanded to include roofing systems, retrofits and commercial envelopes evaluation.