Uncontrolled air leakage and the lack of comprehensive moisture management in buildings lead to a host of energy efficiency, building durability, occupant health and comfort problems. A holistic, systems-based approach that recognizes the interactions of weather and the building’s fabric, HVAC systems, and occupants is needed to address these issues. To meet the performance requirements of Australia’s National Construction Code for safe, healthy, and sustainable buildings requires proper design detailing, construction techniques and workmanship of the building envelope. Testing and verification are key tools for achieving envelope integrity in the real world. In Australia, industry guidance is needed to translate world’s best practices to this country’s range of climates and construction techniques.
In 2015 ISO 9972:2006 was adopted as an Australian and New Zealand Standard. This standard outlines the principle methodology to undertake post construction verification of the thermal performance of buildings by determination of air permeability of the envelope using the fan pressurisation method. This provides a highly valuable performance based opportunity for the building code to quantify the air sealing requirements for energy efficiency, allowing this performance based solution to improve productivity.
The purpose of this AIRAH Building Physics Special Technical Group is to provide members with a platform for involvement in issues that affect their industry in relation to air infiltration, including: policy advice; regulation development; plus the development of, and access to, industry-leading advice. This platform will promote a whole-of-supply-chain integrated view on issues related to the activities of the group and AIRAH, along with best-practice delivery in the Australian and international community.
The Committee aims to:
- Promote industry leadership with a whole-of-supply chain approach encompassing the following key focus areas:
- Be a reference point for government in shaping relevant policy relating to the environmental, economic and social impact of HVAC&R and related systems.
- Make submissions on behalf of members to influence policy setting, as collectively agreed by members, and work with government at all levels to establish workable regulations, frameworks and guidelines.
- Identify and seek external funding for collaborative projects that support the objectives and aims of AIRAH and its members.
- Provide guidance to the HVAC&R industry to develop a considered, integrated and technically objective approach to air infiltration.
- Create special interest groups led by industry knowledge champions to help further the interests of the Committee, AIRAH and its members where needed.
- Published Improving Australian Housing Envelope Integrity
- Ecolibrium: Pushing the envelope
- Hosted the 2017 national Building Physics Forum
- Representation on NATHERS technical advisory group
Review and adaptation of ASHRAE 160 Criteria For Moisture-Control Design Analysis In Buildings for Australian application
- Ecolibrium: The skin we are in
- Leading the development for the Building Physics Forum 2018 at the University of Wollongong
Led the program development for the AIRAH Humidity Workshop 2016
- Collaborating with the ABCB on the development of the National Construction Code Volume 2 Upgrades and Air Sealing Requirements in 2019
- Supporting the GBCA (Green Building Council of Australia) on development of green star credits for air sealing
- Prepared a report called Air Tightness Metrics to Improve Australian Building Envelope Integrity investigating the metrics used to describe the air infiltration performance of buildings, which are tested in accordance with AS/NZS ISO 9972.
Deliverables and Communications
The Committee aims to deliver the following:
- Input to AIRAH’s formal responses to government and stakeholder policies and papers
- White paper analysing cost-effectiveness of building air tightness and testing in Australian climates
- Review of select Australian Standards relating to building air tightness and water vapour control, and identification of needs for additional standards
- Industry guide for performance testing of building air tightness, with the aim to increase the usefulness and impact of existing standards
- Industry guide to best-practice air sealing in residential buildings
- Industry guide to water vapour management for Class 1 to Class 9 buildings, e.g. correct application of vapour-permeable and -impermeable materials, and effective ventilation strategies.
- Jesse Clarke, M.AIRAH (President)
- Sean Maxwell, AM.AIRAH (Vice President)
- Nathan Groenhout, F.AIRAH (Secretary)
- Beres Dowdle, Affil.AIRAH
- Cameron Chick, M.AIRAH
- Charles Rendigs
- Chris Nunn, Affil.AIRAH
- Clare Parry, M.AIRAH
- David Ritter, M.AIRAH
- Greg King, M.AIRAH
- John Konstantakopoulos, Affil.AIRAH
- Mark Jacobson, M.AIRAH
- Matthew Stead, M.AIRAH
- Natallie Cahill, M.AIRAH
- Peter Mathieson, F.AIRAH
- Steve Mort, Affil.AIRAH
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Membership is open to any financial AIRAH member. If you are interested in being involved please email STGS@airah.org.au or call 03 8623 3000.