Sustainable buildings that are healthy and safe for their occupants are at the top of everyone’s list. Add in energy efficient, and we have the perfect combination, right? Not necessarily. While all of these elements are desirable, they are not always compatible!
The desire to make buildings more energy efficient was the impetus for sealing every possible gap, crack and opening during the 1980s and 1990s. While the intent was good, the result was disastrous! Many buildings literally crumbled from the inside out, and the phrase “Sick Building Syndrome” was frequently uttered by the news media.
While there were solutions being developed at the time, it has taken almost thirty years for them to be regularly included in the specs for a new building. That solution is a drainage plane and, depending on the building envelope, a compliment of weeps. The research supporting their inclusion is well-documented by national and international authorities including Lstiburek, Straube, Burnett, and Karagiozis. Some countries, including Canada, now mandate drainage planes’ inclusion in new construction.
And yet, with all the information out there, most people don’t know what separates an effective drainage plane from one that fails to do even an adequate job. I cannot count the number of times I have been asked what the characteristics of an effective drainage plane are, and MTI has created several lengthy presentations on the subject. But until now, there hasn’t been a quick, concise resource available.
After many months of studying the research, reviewing testing results and engaging in discussions with architects and contractors, MTI has launched Drainage Plane University. The goal of DPU is to provide quick, factual information about important building envelope drainage issues. While we have made hour-long AIA/CES workshops available online for several years, these mini-courses take no longer than a few minutes.
We encourage you to take advantage of Course 1 – Drainage Plane Characteristics. We hope that it is not only informative but that it also promotes a positive discussion about one of the most important tools in the quest for sustainable, healthy and energy-efficient buildings.