California Association of Building Energy Consultants

High Performance Walls

One of the challenges in the 2016 energy code is the increased energy requirements of wall construction, termed High Performance Walls. The 2016 Standard Energy Design Budget bases wall construction on 2x6 framing with an exterior insulation. While on paper, it is easy for an energy consultant to show this type of construction, application in the field is quite a different story.

Here are links to articles written by Joseph W. Lstiburek, Ph.D., P. Eng., of Building Science Corporation. According to an article in the Winter 2017 CABEC Newsletter, written by Eric Werling (from Building Technologies Office, Department of Energy), "Dr. Lstiburek has worked for decades helping builders improve the thermal performance and durability of their buildings. Dr. Joe knows building envelopes — the good, the bad, and the ugly".

These articles address choosing the right materials, differences in climate zones, moisture problems and so forth.

Also, I have come across an excellent product catalog prepared by California Advanced Homes Partnership. Here is an introduction about this catalog.

TRC Energy Services, implementers of the California Advanced Homes Program (CAHP) Master Builder initiative for Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company, created this catalog to assist builders in planning, designing, and constructing high performance attics and high performance walls. This catalog lists products and building assemblies that builders could use to comply with Title 24 standards — specifically for high performance attics and walls. We do not intend for this catalog to be a complete list of available products, and we will add new manufacturers, products, and assemblies as they become available.

If you would like a copy of this catalog, please contact me. As always, I am available to discuss the process of meeting the California Energy Code for any building project.