Attic ventilation is a firmly established requirement for residential wood-framed buildings. Attic ventilation is cited to be a benefit for moisture control, reducing cooling loads in hot climates, minimizing ice dams in cold climates, and extending the service life of roof materials by reducing surface temperatures. There is an ongoing debate on the real significance of some of these benefits and mandatory venting requirements.
As codes and standards evolve towards low or net-zero energy buildings, the practicality of achieving these targets in high-rise concrete construction gets increasingly challenging. High-rise residential buildings are becoming more common as cities redevelop and add density. Current design and construction practice for high-rise multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) presents a number of constraints with regards to achieving high levels of energy performance.
Building envelope thermal performance is greatly affected by thermal bridging, or localized areas of increased heat flow through walls and roofs. Mitigating the impact of thermal bridging is not only necessary to reduce energy consumption but is also an important consideration for minimizing the risk of condensation on cold surfaces and for maintaining occupant comfort.
Across North America we are seeing more stringent thermal requirements in building codes and designers are responding by increasing the amount of insulation in walls, all in an attempt to increase energy efficiency in buildings. But how effective are these changes on building energy use when we ignore the impacts of 3-dimensional heat flow in transition building components, like exposed concrete slabs, window flashings and un-insulated parapets. What if these building components we neglect have a much greater impact on energy than we realize? And how will that affect the decisions we currently make on the building envelope?
Leading the way to a sustainable future
Thermal bridges at floor slabs are often overlooked in energy standards and common design practice. The accepted truth seems to be that structural members to support cladding cannot be avoided and the area of the steel or concrete bypassing the insulation is small compared to the total wall area.
With a continued focus of sustainable and energy efficient building design, more attention is being paid to the thermal performance of building enclosure assemblies. Providing a higher level of thermal resistance in the building enclosure may seem as straightforward as just adding insulation, but when building with conductive elements like steel, achieving higher thermal performance levels can be elusive.
Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future
Spandrel panels constituent of glazing systems are a widespread architectural element of mid- and high-rise buildings. Designers long for spandrel panel sections to match the requirements of energy standards for opaque elements. Regrettably there is not an available insulation that can be packed into the back-pan of typical spandrel panel sections to meet the requirements of current energy standards for opaque elements for mild and cold climates. This situation often leads designers to consider adding insulation inboard of spandrel sections to improve their performance.
Morrison Hershfield was the principal investigator for ASHRAE Research Project 1365 – Thermal Performance of Building Envelope Details for Mid- and High-Rise Buildings.
The reliability of mission critical power systems depends upon not only the quality of power distribution equipment but the overall integrity of the installation. Incorrect selection of wiring types and the manner in which their terminations are made can embed underlying risks which may not be immediately evident. As there are many varieties of wiring types, each having properties advantageous for particular applications, there are also many types of wiring termination materials to be considered for system reliability. Incorrect wiring connections frequently become the weakest element in a critical power path. However, to select the proper and most effective conductor termination hardware and evaluate its strengths and understand its shortcomings, an awareness of the various types of cables available, their construction, and the particular applications to which they are suited.
The dominant form of apartment building design in major urban areas in Canada is the double-loaded corridor type in which most apartments tend to face in opposite directions and have exposure only on one face of the building, although the plan shape could vary. Less common are three wing, four wing (cross) and L-shaped plans. In these buildings, some apartments might have exposure to more than one side of the building and only rarely on opposite sides.