Air tightness is a key concern for design and construct specialists in Europe and North America, but the term hasn’t yet hit the mainstream in Australia. Read on to learn more about air tightness and why it really matters.
Air tightness is the control of air leakage in a building. While ventilation is important, buildings should not have unintended draughts. Taking measures such as installing vapour checks and vapour barriers can help improve air tightness.
Why You Should Care About Air Tightness
Considering air tightness helps you build a more eco-friendly building. When buildings are airtight, heating and cooling systems work more efficiently. Studies show that buildings that meet air tightness guidelines use up to 25 percent less energy on heating and air infiltration. For a 15-storey office block in a cold city like Melbourne, that could represent savings of up to $25,000 a year. In Brisbane, which has a much shorter heating period, a comparable office block in the Queensland capital could still stand to save $15,000 per annum by taking air tightness measures.
Buildings that leak air are also subject to a variety of problems, including condensation, mould, damp, and rot. These conditions are not only unpleasant to live with, but can also threaten a building’s structural integrity, so minimising risk is crucial.
If you’re concerned about air tightness, contact TPM Builders. We can put measures in place during the design and construct process to ensure your next commercial building venture follows recommended air tightness guidelines.
What the Future Might Hold
North America and Europe have laws governing air tightness. On these continents, pressure tests are used to ensure that all new buildings meet air tightness requirements. It may be just a matter of time before Australia follows their lead and implements air tightness legislation.
While it’s a relatively new design concern, we can expect to hear a lot more about air tightness in the Australian construction industry.
Image via Flickr by melburnian
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