Exceeding Thermal Performance Goals by Choosing Wood

Understanding how wood can help contribute to significant energy savings in the built environment
Sponsored by Think Wood
By Andrew A. Hunt
1 AIA LU/HSW; 1 AIBD P-CE; 1 GBCI CE Hour; 0.1 IACET CEU*; 1 PDH*; SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the thermal advantages of building with wood.
  2. Describe how designing with wood can enable design flexibility to maximize building performance.
  3. Explain common methods for controlling heat and airflow in wood-frame and mass timber buildings.
  4. List common insulation, airtightness, and vapor permeability strategies often employed with wood construction to achieve effective thermal efficiency.

This course is part of the Wood Structures Academy

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The inherent properties of wood include strength, durability, sustainability, and flexible design options, which allow architects to design commercial and nonresidential buildings to a higher level of thermal performance. Compared to other building materials, choosing wood framing, both light frame and mass timber, leverages the natural attributes of wood and provides for accessible code compliance and energy savings. Whether choosing light frame design or leveraging the advantages of mass timber products, wood continues to provide economic, structural, and environmentally efficient benefits to designer, builders, and occupants.

End Notes

1Graham, Finch et al. Guide for Designing Energy-Efficient Building Enclosures for Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings in Marine to Cold Climates in North America. FPInnovations and RDH Building Engineering Ltd. 2013. Web. 19 April 2018.

2Upton, Brad et. al. “The Greenhouse gas and energy impacts of using wood instead of alternatives in residential construction in the United States.” Biomass & Bioenergy. Elsevier. 2008. Web. 19 April 2018.

3Wood and Water

4Thermal Properties of Wood

5Code (2018 IECC), Chapter 4 Commercial Energy Efficiency, Section C401. General, Section C402 Building Envelope Requirements

6The Role of the Structural Engineer in Net-Zero-Energy Construction

7Vapor Barriers or Vapor Diffusion Retarders


CLT Handbook Chapter 10

WoodWorks: Energy Efficiency

American Wood Council

Meeting and Exceeding Energy Objectives in Wood Buildings

Andrew A. Hunt is vice president of Confluence Communications and has been a writer and consultant in the green building and building science industry for over a decade. He has authored more than 100 continuing education and technical publications as part of a nationwide practice. confluencec.com

Think Wood logo. Think Wood is a leading education provider on the advantages of using softwood lumber in commercial, community, and multifamily building applications. We introduce innovators in the field to our community of architects, engineers, designers, and developers. For support or resources, contact us at info@thinkwood.com. www.thinkwood.com
This test is no longer available for credit
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Originally published in Architectural Record