Track 2: DESIGN - PLANNING THE CONSERVATION OF HISTORIC PLACES / Volet 2 : Conception - Planifier la conservation de lieux historiques

Hygrothermal and Energy Effects of Insulation and Climate Management on Historic Multi-Wythe Masonry Wall Buildings

Friday, October 13
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

The renovation and reuse of existing buildings is a cornerstone of sustainable design and preservation efforts. Masonry buildings, many of which are over a hundred years old, are good candidates for renovation because they have withstood the test of time and proven themselves as durable structures. However, current building codes, desires for comfort or preservation of historic fabric, and popular trends demand interior climate management and energy efficiency improvements through the addition of mechanical systems, insulation, air barriers, and vapor retarders. These changes significantly can affect the performance and durability of the enclosure in unexpected ways.

This presentation outlines some of the effects of adding mechanical systems, insulation, air barriers, and vapor retarders to masonry walls, and evaluates the risks of those measures including potential implications to the building envelope performance and durability. These changes may be detrimental to the wall system if materials are not freeze/thaw durable or are moisture sensitive; and if renovation detailing does not include maintainable measures, such as flashing, to limit bulk water leakage. Determining the risk of deterioration requires computerized heat and moisture migration modeling. This presentation also will discuss research in material testing to characterize the freeze-thaw durability and to determine the hygrothermal material properties for model input may also be required, especially for masonry materials which our research has shown have extremely varying hygric properties, potentially making use of “standard” materials in the modeling software’s database not indicative of actual material performance.

Mechanical climate management can improve comfort and help preserve the building’s fabric, but its effects on the fabric must be understood in all seasons. Incorporating wall energy efficiency improvements can be costly and disruptive renovations that may have longer payback periods than other potential enclosure improvements. Designers therefore need to understand how these improvements fit into the overall preservation of the building and energy strategy. This presentation also will discuss tools to evaluate the energy effects of these improvements and will show how carefully executed whole building energy models can provide quantifiable feedback from which to evaluate the benefits of implementing climate control or wall improvements.

Various examples and case studies will highlight the design process, and related material testing and modeling requirements for implementing climate management and wall improvements in historic masonry buildings, and the possible damage that can result from improperly designed or installed systems and materials.

Learning Objectives:

David Artigas, P.E.

Senior Staff II -- Building Technology
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc

Mr. Artigas is a licensed Mechanical Engineer who has worked on several historic and existing building enclosure preservation and rehabilitation projects. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate program in Historic Preservation in 2007, he spent the first four and a half years of his career in SGH’s San Francisco office before moving to New York City (also with SGH) in 2012. Mr. Artigas specializes in the rehabilitation and conservation of the building enclosure materials and assemblies, and well as the thermal and hygrothermal performance of the building enclosure systems.


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Hygrothermal and Energy Effects of Insulation and Climate Management on Historic Multi-Wythe Masonry Wall Buildings

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