High Performance Brownstones: How To Durably Insulate On The Interior For Airtightness And Vapor Control

Date: April 30, 2013

Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Host: AIA New York - Building Enclosure Council

Type: Lecture/Presentation

Link: http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=calendar&evtid=5724

A two-hour seminar for AIANY Building Enclosure Council explores the inneficiecy of of 12” brick walls. The classic brick wall is  un-insulated (R-6-ish) and prone to air infiltration. Since most buildings are landmarked or owner requirements prohibit exterior insulation, the only option to make this large collection of NYC buildings energy efficient is to insulate them on the interior. The question that will be addressed is how to do this cost effectively and safely, while considering moisture drive, bulk rain water issues and insulation materials.


This presentation is recommended for any building professional involved in the design and construction of historic building envelopes with an eye towards enclosure optimization, best practices and sustainable material selection.

During the seminar we will analayze the brownstone wall. How has it been working for the past 100 years, can it be insulated from the interiors, and how it can be prepared for the next 100. We will be addressing the following concerns:

  1. What metrics we need to meet to get the building (close to) passive house performance. The inherent compact shape of a brownstone means that we do not need to lose a lot of valuable floorspace, but it does require good windows, a very good air-seal and heat recovery ventilation.
  2. What elements influence our exterior walls – which get them wet, which let them dry – and how can we use materials to our advantage if we insulate these old structures on the interior
  3. Practical examples of what has worked in practice and which elements failed or need to be improved.


Floris Keverling Buisman, WUFI-ORNL instructor, CPHC, LEED AP®, 475 High Performance Building Supply


Price: free for AIA members; $10 for non-members