Learning Lab

Enclosure Design for Energy Saving, Basics to Advanced

Enclosure Design for Energy Saving, Basics to Advanced

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Jasha Kistler
Technical Director | Associate
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November 21, 2019
12:00 PM, San Francisco Time (GMT-8)
60 min


The building enclosure is the primary determinate of energy usage for most buildings.  There are some fundamental rules of thumb that need to be followed for an efficient design.  However, getting beyond the basics requires a more scientific and analytical approach.  The presentation will illustrate how to build on the basics using advanced analysis and modeling tools to deliver measurably improved energy efficiency.  Along the way we will debunk a few common myths and misconceptions.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Best practices regarding energy-efficient enclosures, starting from the simplest and most basic such as massing and air-tightening and working up through more advanced and intensive analysis to test design alternatives.
  • Digital performance modeling as a tool for delivery of energy savings.
  • Trade-offs between sometimes mutually exclusive performance targets such as solar heat gain versus daylighting versus glare control.
  • Energy efficient common commercial construction techniques including continuous insulation, thermal breaks, fenestration selection, shading, and cool roofs.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the impact of the building enclosure on total energy consumption of a building. Review the inter-relationship of insulated opaque walls and roofs versus fenestration on heat gain/heat loss and daylighting
  • Review the simple building science concepts behind the transport of heat, air and moisture across the building enclosure and understand the mechanisms available to control that transport. Identify the primary determinates of heat gain/heat loss and energy consumption at the enclosure.
  • Evaluate the actual energy impact of assemblies versus the idealized, identifying thermal short circuits, air-washing of insulation and other detriments to thermal performance.
  • Assess a variety of digital modeling tools available for analysis of the thermal and energy performance of the building enclosure including WUFI, Therm, Window, and more advanced integrated modeling such as IES Virtual Environment.  Compare 2D and 3D modeling.

Affiliated Associations

  • AIA
  • GBCI