Infrared scan of exterior of home

Building Science and Building Enclosures Research Thrust

Most problems in residential buildings are serviceability in nature and are caused by moisture or rain penetration from exterior, condensation within walls and on wall or glazing surfaces that could lead to mold growth. These moisture/vapor issues and air leakage and thermal comfort issues as well as and energy efficiency constitute technical areas that require an understanding of the principles of building science to overcome, resolve, and prevent associated problems. 

Products such as windows, air barriers, and vapor barriers are required to be tested for air and or water leakage resistance or performance. Normally, the air and vapor barrier membrane is tested by the manufacturer. However, the whole house air leakage performance is an important aspect for energy performance evaluated using what is known as blower door test. 

Windows as a whole would need testing for product performances such as design pressure, air infiltration, structural test pressure, water penetration, thermal performance, forced entry resistance and acoustic performance. The glazing on the other hand, needs to be tested for the solar heat gain coefficient, shading coefficient, U-factor, visible transmissibility, among other energy or durability performance criteria.



The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304