Energy efficiency is an important component of building performance but if treated in isolation it can be a road to disaster.
Insulating a building reduces energy wastage, which is a good thing, but it also alters the ‘building physics’ which in turn causes potential moisture problems, structural decay, mould, and air quality issues.
By insulating a building without considering the consequences we can inadvertently kill the building with kindness. This is particularly tragic when a 100-year-old building is quickly ruined with a lot of insulation and a lack of knowledge.
A good building performance strategy still insulates a building but deals with insulation in conjunction with air tightness and ventilation with the intent of creating a safe, durable, comfortable, energy efficient and healthy building.
LESSON: We have been insulating our buildings for a long time now due to Code requirements and energy efficiency aspirations. We are now also witnessing the unintended consequences of these good intentions. It’s time we got smart and started dealing with buildings as a system instead of a series of unrelated parts.