Building Science Behind Effective Air Barriers
April 12, 2017
Airflow throughout a building envelope can be one of the most impactful influences in a typical residential home. In winter, it can be air movement that allows warm air to escape outside. And in summer, it could be about warm air infiltrating into the home. Either way, undesirable airflow impacts winter heating and summer cooling. And when energy efficiency is lacking, the result is seasonal utility costs that start to soar. This is where effective air barriers can be the remedy.For the average homeowner, heating and air conditioning issues usually surface when utility bills start to rise. This is the time when remedies are sought, even without completely understanding the nature of the problem. This is also when a reliable home energy expert can proffer problem solving advice, product options, and installation alternatives. And while many issues may present when energy efficiency is compromised, unregulated airflow is very often at the top of the list. Ideally, whether a home is new or old, an effective air barrier system should block undesirable airflow. Since every home is uniquely different, every solution should be customized to address specific deficiencies. With a professional approach, a home energy expert can assess the needs, and provide realistic options for upgrading and/or retrofitting. Basic solutions might incorporate conventional caulking and weather-stripping, but there may also be a need for something more. Professional contractors understand the need for a building envelope to be sealed tight in order to deliver optimum energy efficiency. The fact is, unregulated air movement and air moisture has a negative impact on the interior environment in a home. An effective air barrier system manages airflow from the inside of a home (conditioned space) to the outside (unconditioned space). With proper airflow, heating and air-conditioning work more efficiently, and energy usage is reduced. Although air sealing is crucial to energy efficiency, indoor air circulation and ventilation are also essential. For professional contractors like Great Northern Insulation, this "system" is one that should work in tandem. When it comes to air barriers, GNI offers a number of viable options that inhibit air movement and moisture collection throughout the building envelope. In some cases, the application of a spray foam product can achieve excellent results for sealing and insulating. Possibly the best air barrier system in the industry is the spray foam product (often referred to as Spray Polyurethane Foam). A professional install totally seals a space, forming an impermeable air and vapour at one time. SPF is also the ultimate insulation product, creating the most energy efficient space when compared with other products and applications. In new construction, or as a retrofit, SPF is the definitive installation approach for the attic, basement, and exterior walls. With Great Northern Insulation, homeowners are assured of professionalism when it comes to home energy issues. Experienced installers are focused on providing maximum energy efficiency for every client. For air barrier systems, quality insulation products, and superior installations, contact GNI at 1-800-265-1914 or visit the website at www.gni.ca .