Double Wall Framing Technique – An Example of High Performance, Sustainable Building Envelope Technology
Double wall technologies utilizing wood framing have been well-known and used in North American buildings for decades. Most of double wall designs use only natural materials such as wood products, gypsum, and cellulose fiber insulation, being one of few building envelope technologies achieving high thermal performance without use of plastic foams or fiberglass. Today, after several material and structural design modifications, these technologies are considered as highly thermally efficient, sustainable option for new constructions and sometimes, for retrofit projects. Following earlier analysis performed for U.S. Department of Energy by Fraunhofer CSE, this paper discusses different ways to build double walls and to optimize their thermal performance to minimize the space conditioning energy consumption. Description of structural configuration alternatives and thermal performance analysis are presented as well. Laboratory tests to evaluate thermal properties of used insulation and whole wall system thermal performance are also discussed in this paper. Finally, the thermal loads generated in field conditions by double walls are discussed utilizing results from a joined project performed by Zero Energy Building Research Alliance and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which made possible evaluation of the market viability of low-energy homes built in the Tennessee Valley. Experimental data recorded in two of the test houses built during this field study is presented in this work.
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