Durable Envelopes for Cold Climates

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CCHRC is working with industry partners to identify building envelope designs that can withstand healthy indoor humidity levels. The Mobile Test Lab is a trailer with nine test wall bays, each with a different configuration of studs and insulation—including a control wall with fiberglass batt insulation. We designed four walls with spray-foam manufacturers Demilec and Icynene to test how low-density spray polyurethane foam performs in the extreme cold climate of Alaska. Two wall cavities are filled with Thermo-Kool cellulose insulation.

Each wall has a Tyvek weather barrier and vinyl lap siding on the exterior, while the interior is finished with painted gypsum drywall. Each was instrumented with temperature, moisture, and relative humidity sensors. During the study, which will take place in Winter 2012, the lab will be maintained at 70ºF and 40% relative humidity with near neutral pressure (0 to 1 Pa).

 

Read the full report and a shorter snapshot below. 

DurableEnvelopesReport.pdf

Cellulose Moisture Snapshot

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Projects

Slab-on-Grade Foundation Best Practices An evaluation of best practices for insulating under slab-on-grade foundations
Garage Wall Analysis CCHRC is looking at attached garages to see if they adequately prevent pollutants from entering the house.
Vacuum Insulated Panel Test CCHRC is testing how Vacuum Insulated Panels can be assembled to achieve extremely high R-values in cold climate homes.
Designs for Rural Alaska Walls Monitoring CCHRC demonstration homes for efficiency and moisture infiltration several years after construction.
Structural Insulated Panels Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are prefabricated building materials used in residential construction in Alaska. This project prepared resources for homeowners who want to learn about SIPs, where they are used in cold climates, and considerations for Alaska.