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A General Overview of the Exterior Cavity Wall Approach to Creating High-Performance Building Envelopes

Program number 701

Course Description

This program considers the advantages of installing the thermal envelopes of buildings on the outside of exterior brick and panel-clad cavity walls. Basic principles of building science related to this application are examined, including health, safety, and welfare issues, in a discussion of thermal envelope components and how exterior applications can provide reliable, high-performance, thermal envelopes when compared to interior applications. Also, how well designed buildings using this approach can actually have a significantly lower up front cost, while providing superior energy performance is demonstrated.

A survey of current exterior insulation and air and vapor barrier systems is presented, including spray-applied polyurethane foam. An introduction to related polyurethane foam technology is then given, including processing, application methods, and the physical properties of medium-density, spray-applied polyurethane foam. Air and vapor barrier system options and materials are discussed with respect to their purpose and when they should be used to supplement spray-applied polyurethane systems. Building Code issues as well as product and installation quality assurance are also explored. Case studies are used to demonstrate various field applications and to illustrate technical responses to questions frequently asked about these systems (interactive). 

A Powerpoint slide presentation is the basic format of this program. (This is a one-hour course and qualifies for Health, Safety, and Welfare credit.)

The second part of this Course, “Details and Specifications for Cost-effective and Energy Efficient Exterior Cavity-Wall Applications - Program number AIA702” covers the specifics of the design phase for this system. The third part of this Course, “Project Management for Exterior Cavity-Wall Applications - Program number AIA703” addresses the construction and commissioning process.

Henri C. Fennell is President of Building Envelope Services, Inc. & FOAM-TECH, North Thetford, Vermont, USA.

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