Building physics takes centre stage 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

After a successful inaugural event last year, AIRAH’s Building Physics Forum is doubling up for 2018, with two international keynote speakers and four rooms of workshops across two information-packed days.

The Building Physics Forum will run over November 22–23 at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre Innovation Campus at the University of Wollongong.

“It’s no secret that Australia’s building stock, traditionally, has suffered from problems with the building envelope and air tightness,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “So, we’ve often been guilty of relying on HVAC systems to compensate.

“But more and more we are coming to understand the positive impact that good building envelopes can have on energy efficiency, thermal comfort, and especially the health of occupants. We’re really excited to be bringing together experts from Australia and abroad to discuss and build knowledge on this topic.”

The program features two international keynotes: Terry Brennan from Camroden Associates in the US, and Prof. Dr Hartwig M Künzel from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Germany.

Brennan is a building scientist and educator who chairs the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) committee developing new air leakage protocols. His past work includes consulting on a project to restore homes New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, teaching healthy housing courses, and conducting research on unplanned airflows in commercial buildings in New York State. He is also a member of ASHRAE 62.2 Ventilation and Air Quality Committee.

Professor Künzel is responsible for hygrothermal investigations sponsored by industry and government. During his PhD work, he developed the WUFI hygrothermal model, which has become an internationally recognised and widely applied simulation tool for moisture control in buildings. 

Also on the program are a host of envelope experts from Australia, reflecting the increasing concerns about moisture and mould in buildings.

A trio of speakers from the University of Tasmania will all explore the management of moisture. Dr Mark Dewsbury, M.AIRAH, will investigate the installation of water barriers in buildings; Shruti Nath will attempt to get to the root of condensation and mould problems; and Toba Samuel Olaoye will zoom in on the vapour-resistivity properties of building materials.

Other aspects of building physics will also be explored. Samantha Anderson will look at the rapid adoption of non-combustible materials for external walls and how this can affect the building envelope. Alan Green, Affil.AIRAH, will present the results of experiments into the air temperatures above cool roofs on shopping centres. And Gary Knox, F.AIRAH, will show how computational fluid dynamics can inform the design of mechanical services projects.

“The Building Physics Forum is an event that promises to spark more projects and collaborations,” says AIRAH’s Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH. “Across the two days our speakers will address a number of issues related to the building envelope, whether that’s energy efficiency, building durability, or occupant health and comfort.”

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Thanks to our sponsors, exhibitors and supporters: Kingspan, Efficiency Matrix, AUSPTA and ABSA