U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Office
Foundation and Moisture Control Research Project
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently conducting research into building foundation and moisture control technologies. Moisture is a significant market barrier for energy saving insulation and finding below-grade applications that vary depending on climate zone and soil type can help builders overcome this risk.
This project seeks to enhance modeling tools to evaluate the durability of foundation insulation systems. These models are dependent on soil properties, transfer coefficients, and climate data. One software tool, WUFI, allows realistic calculation of the transient coupled one-dimensional heat and moisture transport in multi-layer building components exposed to natural weather, and is based on the newest findings regarding vapor diffusion and liquid transport in building materials. The underlying model has been validated for over 20 years.
Research is being undertaken between DOE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Minnesota, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics.
The goal of this project is to develop and validate, against actual field data, new models for multiple foundation construction types that will accurately predict the hygrothermal performance of below grade constructions. The validated model will then be used to guide the development of new materials and systems.