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Air Barrier Systems

Air Barrier Systems

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Spray Foam Insulation as an Air Barrier System

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The Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) defines an air barrier system as a system of building assemblies within the building enclosure — designed, installed and integrated in such a manner as to stop the uncontrolled flow of air into and out of the building enclosure.

Use of ABAA-evaluated building materials such as spray foam insulation in your commercial design can contribute to:

  • Reducing building enclosure moisture problems
  • Improving indoor air quality
  • Reducing building heating and cooling costs 
  • Reducing greenhouse gas production

ABAA-evaluated Icynene spray foam insulation products include:

It’s important to keep in mind that today, federal government agencies will specify ABAA-evaluated materials in federally-funded building projects and several states will include air barrier requirements in their building codes.

Defining an Air Barrier

ABAA defines air barrier materials by their air permeance. To be defined as an air barrier material, the air permeance must be equal to or less than 0.02L/(s•m2) @ 75Pa (0.004 cfm/ft2  @ 1.57 psf) when tested in accordance with ASTM E2178.

Note that air permeance is the amount of air that migrates through materials and not through holes or gaps. ASTM E2178 testing has provisions to test rigid materials, flexible materials and fluid-applied materials.