Building Enclosure Testing - Why?

Air infiltration can affect occupant comfort by producing drafts, cause indoor air quality problems by carrying outdoor pollutants into occupied building space and, in hot humid climates, can deposit moisture in the building envelope resulting in deterioration of building envelope components. In cold climates, exfiltration of conditioned air out of a building can deposit moisture in the building envelope causing deterioration of building envelope components.

Building Enclosure Testing - History

In 2009 the United States Army Core of Engineers (USACE) began requiring all new construction and major renovations done on military sites have a continuous air barrier in place. Using ASTM E779 specifications as a guideline USACE developed a protocol. The protocol requires a continuous air barrier to be installed and tested on all new construction and major renovations with the standard of not passing more than 25cfm per square foot of building envelope.

Air Barrier Testing

Pro-MEC Engineering Services is certified in Level III Air Barrier Testing. We provide air barrier testing in accordance to ASTM E779 specifications and USACE protocol. Pro-MEC is also certified by Infra-spection Institute for infrared detection of envelope leaks. Our air barrier tests are coupled with thermography and smoke analysis in accordance to ASTM C1060 and ASTM E1186 to assess areas of leakage.

Air Barrier Commissioning

Air Barrier standards have been so recently created that many architects and builders are not familiar with designing and installing an air barrier. Without an informed party reviewing the design of the air barrier and present for the installation, new construction is set up for failure. A building tested after construction that does not pass specifications will be 10 to 1000 times more expensive to repair than if caught up front.

We offer expert consultation throughout the creation of the air barrier from design review to guidance and evaluations throughout construction. Our team can expertly assist in the development of a successful air barrier, keeping a project on schedule and meeting the air barrier standards for all building types.

Air Leakage Measurement

Building smoke exhaust or hall pressurization systems are often over-sized to account for unknown building leakage. Over-sized mechanical equipment has a higher up-front cost, higher running energy cost, and requires more maintenance. Pro-MEC Engineering Services works with building ngineers by testing the required amount of air to satisfy a required pressurization to make for proper sizing of equipment.

Pro-MEC's™ Building Pressure Testing

During building pressure testing we find that pressurization issues can be caused by disproportionate air balance, modified sequences of operation, building/mechanical system alterations and/or faulty sensors/controllers that may require attention. Improper pressure balances can result in excess energy consumption, sub-standard indoor air quality, comfort issues and overall inefficient equipment performance. If these requirements are not followed air quality will be compromised and mechanical performance can be affected.

Pressure Complications

Indoor Air Quality

When the building is in negative pressure to the outdoors, unfiltered air enters through any door, window, or opening in the building. This unfiltered air does not enter through designated areas such as carefully specified outdoor air intake locations.

Humidity

When air enters the building from unspecified areas, humidity fluctuates vs. that planned and controlled. High humidity can cause problems such as black mold, premature building decay, equipment failure, and occupant comfort issues. Even if the system can maintain humidity levels, the system requires more energy to keep up with the additional air infiltration increasing energy costs.

Temperature

When air enters the building from unspecified areas due to negative pressurization, this unconditioned air makes it difficult for the heating/cooling system to maintain the desired room temperature, impacting occupant comfort and energy usage.

Building Pressure Balancing Enhances System Efficiency

Building pressurization issues are often indicators that building mechanical systems are no longer working in harmony. Common issues affecting building pressurization include:

Pro-MEC's systematic approach to building pressure balancing evaluates and corrects problems one at a time, and system-wide. With the mechanical system back in harmony, you benefit in lower energy costs and improved occupant comfort.