Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Air Barrier Joint Research Program (ST10494-1)

Syracuse University


Infiltration is unintentional movement of air through a building envelope. Excessive infiltration can result in significant impacts on energy use, maintenance requirements and occupant health. Energy is required to condition any make-up air resulting from these losses. While the energy penalty for infiltration is widely accepted, there is limited technical data that would confirm this or allow for prediction based on a specific wall section design. Building wraps (polymer film sheets applied to an envelope exterior) have been shown to greatly reduce infiltration losses, but are subject to installation procedures (lapping, edge conditions, stapling, etc.) that are not always followed in the field. Researchers believe that other approaches may inherently reduce infiltration paths better than building wrap. The Air Barrier Association of American (ABAA) has established a multi-year research program with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to better specify the relationship between infiltration and specific air barrier/wall systems and to disseminate the information to building manufacturers, code officials, and other interested parties. A central component of this research program will be the construction and establishment of a Test Hut that permits detailed monitoring of different wall assemblies.

Map Error

Project Description

Syracuse University shall design and construct the ABAA Test Hut (2,300 square feet, 2 story building) that can support long-term monitoring of air and moisture movement through up to 34 different wall assemblies (4' x 8' test cells). The Test Hut shall be constructed on Syracuse University’s campus. The Contractor shall manage test cell data acquisition and conduct other related building envelope performance research at the test hut.


Various studies have quantified envelope losses as accounting for up to 30% of the heating and cooling loads in modern buildings, and of this amount, 50% is associated with air leakage through walls and penetrations for windows and doors. Better design of air barrier systems would significantly reduce these losses.

Project Results

Products being tested are completing there first year of monitoring. NYSERDA has been granted the use of three cells for its use.


Syracuse University
727 East Washington St. Attn: Tamara Rosanio
Syracuse, NY 13244

Principle Investigator

Jensen Zhang

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Building Systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Robert Carver


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10494-1

Last Updated: 2/10/2014