The new energy performance requirements for buildings, the current move towards sustainable buildings and the energy-saving expectations of homeowners and building owners highlight the importance of establishing barrier systems to air infiltration in buildings, especially in their envelopes.
Among many other features, projected polyurethane foam has always included the "sealing effect" on brick factory walls. This makes it an ally for sustainable building. This circumstance explains the increased demand for projected polyurethane foam in the United States and Europe, whose Building Codes set high requirements to minimize energy losses as much as possible.
Air barriers: why now?
This is a question that many building agents ask themselves. The energy efficiency and comfort of building occupants, two keys to sustainable design, are fostering the use of barriers against air infiltration in buildings. The rising cost of energy and the importance of indoor air quality mean that air barriers play a critical role.
What is an air barrier? Its role in air infiltrations into buildings
Air barriers control the involuntary movement of air into and out of a building. Air barrier systems consist of a number of materials that are assembled to provide a complete barrier to air infiltrations into buildings through enclosures.
The building envelope includes the "six faces", facades, roof and floor, but may also include partitions within the building. An air barrier system is essentially a second skin of the building envelope that protects the building from the effects of air infiltrations. Uncontrolled air infiltrations can have detrimental effects on a building's performance in terms of the comfort of its occupants, air quality and energy consumption, reducing the lifespan of a building.
Air infiltration barrier systems contribute to the durability of the building envelope. A fundamental factor of sustainable construction.