Hot Topics


As the demand for zero-energy buildings drives the need for better-insulated and airtight enclosures, moisture and hygrothermal performance become increasingly important considerations in the design process. Experts in the field of hygrothermal help Architects to understand the physics of heat and moisture transfer with technical application of cutting-edge tools for performing combined energy modeling and hygrothermal analysis such as WuFi.


The trend in optimizing acoustical design in design is growing with a number of changes in certifications such as LEED® v4 along with practical application such as confidential information protection in work environments. Even the trend of comfort in multi-family environments plays a big role in how we look at acoustics. Today, designing buildings with optimal acoustics is not an easy task. There are different areas of noise control (absorption, isolation, and blocking) as it relates to the building envelope. Each aspect of this needs to be aligned with an understanding of how energy behaves when it interacts with various noise control products and practical applications.



One of the most complex and least understood areas pertaining to where fire can spread remains the perimeter of a building. An understanding of why fire containment is important for the life safety of occupants in the building as well as the safety of emergency responders. Understanding how to identify proper curtain wall design techniques using high-performance system solutions that will provide fire safety in multi-story curtain wall applications is critical topic of interest today in AEC Community.

New NYC World Trade Center Case Study

Commercial Architecture Podcast with Angie Ogino on Perimeter Fire Containment

NFPA 285

NFPA 285 is a test required in the International Building Code (IBC, 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 orgin over the surface, or through the core, of the otherwise non-combustible wall assembly. Click on the links below to learn more about NFPA 285.

Enclosure Solutions NFPA 285 Design Guide

NFPA Commercial Building Products Podcast

Commercial Building Products By-Lined Article on NFPA 285 – June 2012


The race to design and build more efficient and environmentally friendly structures is driving a need to further define standards and continue to push the industry as we press to reach new milestones. However, keeping up with these changes can be daunting and Architects need knowledge and perspective to better understand the role, impact and implications as new standards and recommendations are adopted including Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations as well as new certifications as Cradle to Cradle.