Trending Toward Tighter Buildings


What This Presentation Covers:

The increasing demand for energy efficiency in buildings is driving a renewed focus on low air leakage rates. A high-quality air barrier is an essential part of an energy-efficient building in any climate zone, and air barriers come with many added benefits such as improved control of the building’s interior air quality, comfort, acoustics, and durability. Testing the air barrier is the only reliable way to determine the effectiveness of the installation, but airtightness testing on large and complex buildings requires trained technicians to ensure accurate and repeatable results. Airtightness testing requirements are primarily driven by energy codes, but in many cases these requirements are met with resistance by design and construction teams who are unfamiliar with the testing procedures. In some cases, code officials have been reluctant to require airtightness testing due to concerns about a lack of enough trained and qualified testing technicians.

In this presentation, Denali Jones of RDH Building Science and Laverne Dalgleish of the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) will review trends in airtightness testing over the past 10+ years for hundreds of buildings in Washington State to demonstrate that code requirements can be met even while they are becoming incrementally more stringent. As more buildings require testing, more education will be needed due to the complexity of testing large and multizone buildings. Denali and Laverne will discuss these factors and the necessity of training airtightness professionals to support the progression of policies and codes for more energy efficient buildings. They will also discuss ABAA’s latest training opportunity, the Whole Building Airtightness Technician Training Course, developed by RDH.

 You'll Learn About:

  • Describing how building code requirements for mandatory airtightness testing have impacted building airtightness performance over the last 10+ years.
  • Identifying modern airtightness test methods and their impact on airtightness test result repeatability.
  • Identifying the unique factors that contribute to challenges with large or multi-zone building airtightness tests.
  • Explaining why training for whole-building airtightness testing technicians is an important consideration for improving the airtightness of new and existing building stock.


  • Format: 1 hour recording and quiz. Downloadable slides are included.
  • Audience: A broad range of industry professionals interested in energy efficient buildings and air barrier systems including policy makers, building officials, air barrier installers, building product specifiers, product manufacturers, and current and future blower door technicians.

Continuing Education Credits: 

About Building Science Live - On Demand:

Building Science Live On-Demand is a series of pre-recorded webinar events delivered by RDH's building science specialists. A new topic is explored during each session with topics ranging from building science fundamentals to high-performance design. View more Building Science Live On-Demand learning opportunities here.