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WIND LOAD and AIR BARRIER Performance Levels by Maria Spinu, PhD, LEED AP, Benjamin Meyer, RA, LEED AP, and Andrew Miles Photo courtesy DuPont Building Knowledge Center CONTINUOUS AIR BARRIERS HAVE BECOME MANDATORY FOR THE BUILDING ENVELOPE, WITH ENERGY CODES RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF AIR LEAKAGE CONTROL. HOWEVER, SIMPLE INCLUSION OF AN AIR BARRIER REQUIREMENT DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE DESIRED PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD. THESE SYSTEMS MUST BE PROPERLY INSTALLED, MEET THE BUILDING ENVELOPE STRUCTURAL WIND LOADS, AND MAINTAIN THEIR FUNCTION OVER TIME. There are two accepted performance levels for commercial air barrier systems, determined by the structural design parameters for the building envelope: • ASTM E1677, Standard Specification for Air Barrier Material or System for Low-rise Framed Building Walls, applicable to envelope design specifications of up to 105-km/h (65-mph) equivalent structural loads; and • ASTM 2357, Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies, for buildings designed to withstand structural loads beyond that level. 78 the construction specifier | july 2014 CS_July_2014.indd 78 6/13/14 11:08 AM