Heat and moisture modeling software recognized as sustainable building tool
Few people recognize the importance of moisture in buildings until mold starts creeping up the walls of their living room. But as construction professionals know, understanding how moisture moves through buildings is critical to their long-term durability and performance.
Helping architects and engineers prevent building damage caused by moisture is the goal of a software suite known as WUFI (for "Wärme und Feuchte Instationär," or transient heat and moisture), jointly developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, IBP, in Germany and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
WUFI helps calculate the highly complex nature of heat and moisture transfer in multi-layer building components exposed to various climate conditions and was recently named a top 10 green building product for 2013 by BuildingGreen and the editors of GreenSpec and Environmental Building News.
“We are very pleased to receive this award," said Manfred Kehrer, who led the development of WUFI at Fraunhofer IBP before joining ORNL in 2011. "We developed this software to help design building envelopes that reduce energy consumption while avoiding moisture problems. This award shows that we are on the right track.”
Among WUFI's uses are assessing the performance of roof or wall assemblies in driving rain, estimating the drying time of masonry with trapped moisture and predicting the impact of repairs. The WUFI software family has also been used in the development of many building products within recent decades such as smart vapor retarders.
ORNL's Kehrer and Fraunhofer IBP are working to further develop the WUFI software family under a multi-year collaborative research agreement. Their aim is to improve the software's ability to assess the energy benefits of ecologically sound building components, such as green roofs and facades or moisture-buffering interiors.— Morgan McCorkle, Nov. 21, 2012