Glossary

ASHRAE – The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers is a technical society for all individuals and organizations interested in heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration. ASHRAE publishes a series of standards and guidelines relating to building energy efficiency, building envelope and HVAC system performance. The standards are often referenced in building codes for use by consulting engineers, mechanical contractors, architects, and government agencies.

ASHRAE 90.1 – Provides minimum requirements for energy efficient designs for buildings except for low-rise buildings.  The original standard was published in 1975 and had multiple editions to it in subsequent years.  There are many states that apply the ASHRAE 90.1 standard to different buildings that are being constructed or under renovation. Most states apply the standard or equivalent standards for all commercial buildings while others apply the standard or equivalent standards for only government buildings.  
 ASTM – ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), develops and delivers international voluntary consensus standards covering a wide range of disciplines, materials and testing methods.

ASTM C578 – This specification covers the standards for the types, physical properties and dimensions of cellular polystyrene boards with or without facings or coatings made by molding (EPS) or extrusion (XPS) of expandable polystyrene proposed for use as thermal insulation.

ASTM E119 - This test method evaluates various building elements for their ability to contain a fire, retain their structural integrity, or exhibit both properties during a predetermined test exposure.  The test exposes a test specimen to a standard fire controlled to achieve specified temperatures throughout a specified time period. When required, the fire exposure is followed by the application of a specified standard fire hose stream. 

ASTM E2307 - This test method evaluates perimeter fire barrier (joint) systems.  Joint systems must be tested to limit the passage of flames and hot gases for the time period at least equal to the fire-resistance rating of the floor and prevent the passage of heat and hot gases sufficient to ignite cotton waste (IBC Section 714.4).  Joint systems are also tested to determine movement capacity.

ASTM E2178 - This test method measures the air permeance of flexible sheet or rigid panel (board) materials. The results of this test may be useful in determining suitability of that material as a component of an air retarder system.  This method does not address the installed air leakage performance of building materials.

ASTM E2357 - This method measures the performance of various air barrier materials/accessories when combined into an assembly and then assigns an air leakage rating for the air barrier assembly.  This method does not establish all criteria necessary for consideration in the selection of an air barrier assembly. The results are intended to be used for comparison purposes and may not represent the field installed performance of the air barrier assembly when installed as part of an air barrier system in a building.

Continuous Insulation (ci) - Defined in the ASHRAE 90.1 standard as, “Insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings. It is installed on the interior or exterior or is integral to any opaque surface of the building envelope.” It is insulation that covers framing elements such as steel studs thus limiting thermal bridging through the studs that otherwise occurs when stud cavity insulation is the only insulation in the wall assembly and a non-insulating sheathing is the only sheathing used. The ci concept also applies to masonry or cast concrete walls where ci completely covers the surfaces of masonry walls creating a continuous insulation envelope.

Direct-to-Deck – The use of combustible foam plastic roof insulation installed “directly” over a “steel roof deck” with no intervening thermal barrier protection layer such as gypsum board or other similar protection material.  To qualify for direct-to-deck application, roof deck assemblies containing foam plastic insulation must pass testing in accordance with UL 1256.  

NFPA - The National Fire Protection Association develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.  The NFPA is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

NFPA 275 – This method tests thermal barriers used in building construction to protect foam plastic insulation from direct fire exposure.  The performance of thermal barriers is evaluated on their ability to limit temperature rise on their unexposed surface and by their ability to remain intact during the 15 minute exposure to a standard time/temperature curve.  

NFPA 285 – This standard provides a method of determining the flammability characteristics of exterior, non-load bearing wall assemblies and panels which are required to be of non-combustible construction but may contain combustible components.  It is required in the International Building Code (Section 2603.5.5) when combustible foam plastic insulation is used in the exterior walls of multi-story buildings of construction types I, II, III or IV. Those construction types, by code definition, have exterior walls constructed of non-combustible materials. The test is to verify that combustible foam plastic insulation inside the wall, when exposed to fire on the exterior face of the wall assembly, does not spread flame excessively beyond the point of origin over the surface, or through the core, of the otherwise non-combustible wall assembly.
Thermal Barrier – A fire protective covering used to separate foam plastic insulation from the interior of a building.  Required by Section 2603.4 of the International Building Code (IBC) it is either defined by the prescription of 1/2” thick gypsum board, or, by the performance criteria of passing the temperature resistance and integrity testing as specified in NFPA 275.

Thermal Bridge – A highly conductive element in a construction assembly that enables heat energy to bypass a layer or layers of thermal insulation in the assembly.  An example is steel stud framing that rapidly transfers heat through an insulated wall stud cavity, reducing the overall thermal efficiency of the stud cavity insulation and the overall wall assembly.

UL - Underwriters Laboratories is an independent product safety certification organization that develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing with product safety.   Well known in the construction industry for the evaluation of building materials and assemblies for fire performance, UL also evaluates and certifies the efficiency of a company’s business processes through its management system registration programs.

UL 1256 – This method for the fire test of roof deck constructions evaluates the performance of metallic and nonmetallic roof deck constructions subjected to internal (under deck) fire exposures for the purpose of determining the contribution of the roof covering material, insulation, and other components of the roofing system to the spread of fire within a building.

WUFI-ORNL/IBP –A menu-driven PC program that enables realistic calculation of the transient coupled one-dimensional heat and moisture transport in multi-layer building components exposed to natural weather.


Additional glossary terms reproduced with permission of The American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC  20006.