Tags: #architecture #buildingdesign #buildingenclosures #buildingenvelopes #buildingscience #climate #hygrothermal #WUFI

Climate-based design: good, better, and best approaches for achieving hygrothermal bliss.

A resilient wall design should be simple and readily adaptable for all climates. By ‘readily adaptable’, I mean working variations should reflect only those related to cladding and the insulation layer. No additional wall components are required nor are components substituted to meet specific climate demands. 

If a design truly ‘works’, it should work under all climate datasets for that specific location – in this case, Kansas City, Missouri. And it’s reasonable to expect that a good design, one that is somewhat resilient, should also perform in multiple locations and moisture regimes within the same climate zone.

A better approach considers datasets from adjacent climate zones. In other words, one climate zone north and one climate zone south of the actual location. As before, the design must perform well in alternate moisture regimes.

The best approach considers several climate zones and all regime types – the zen of hygrothermal design.

This exercise may seem overly burdensome, but it’s actually a very useful process. It forces the modeler to simplify, to better understand governing physics & material properties, and to remedy deficient tendencies at plausible climate extremes.