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Improving Building Envelopes

Beyond the Surface: Improving Building Envelopes

From eSociety, September 2018

Building envelopes must be durable, cost-effective and allow for high levels of energy efficiency. And that quest comes with challenges.

The 2019 Buildings XIV International Conference will focus on the skin of the building from walls to windows to foundation to insulation, said conference chair André Desjarlais, who is also the program manager for the building envelope systems research program at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Desjarlais said challenges to achieving successful building envelope ties into the industry’s progress with achieving higher energy efficiency. Those challenges center on creating a durable, cost-effective building that can achieve high levels of energy efficiency.

“We’re increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, and there are a lot sidecar issues that are being created with respect to moisture-related problems and durability-related problems,” he said. “There’s so many new challenges being put down by the new code requirements for buildings.”

The “Buildings Conference” was inaugurated in 1976, and next year’s conference, which is scheduled for Dec. 9-12, 2019, will be the first time under ASHRAE full sponsorship.

The conference is more than a year away, but the deadline for abstract submissions is Oct. 26. Desjarlais said the conference is hoping to present 100 technical papers on topics including energy efficiency, durability, constructability and new technologies.

The Buildings Conference will address these and other building challenges with advanced technical knowledge. Desjarlais said attendees are primarily researchers, academics and manufacturers’ research groups. He said the conference tends to draw international attendees, which allows the industry to solve universal problems with similar solutions.

The conference has two tracks: principles and practices. Principles will be devoted to research and development and practices will focus on practical applications and case studies. The technical papers are meant to focus on the development of technologies and processes designed to be lifecycle cost-effective while reducing energy use and environmental consequences.

The Buildings Conference happens once every three years, giving professionals enough time to research and develop research and technology applications.

Desjarlais said the conference allows the industry to share these developments, such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to develop new, cost-effective and energy efficiency insulation products.

For more information about the conference, call for abstracts and suggested topics,