Campus project in Building Enclosure design: Alumni Memorial

This project highlights some characteristics of building enclosure performance such as heat transfer, air leakage, and moisture performance, by means of inspection of the Alumni Memorial building on the Illinois Institute of Technology main campus located in Chicago.

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A visual thermal inspection of the building was conducted using an infrared camera to analyze thermal bridges and possible leaks in the enclosure. Architectural and structural plans and detail drawings were acquired in order to model the building’s envelope in critical areas and develop a deeper understanding of the building components and their performance. A temperature and relative humidity data logger was placed inside the Alumni Memorial at certain locations and data was logged for a 24-hour period at each location. Visual inspection of the exterior was done and the results captured using a professional DSLR camera. We use THERM to analyze the R-value of the building and  WUFI to model the moist performance of the building.

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From the visual and thermal inspection, modeling and measurement data, we draw some conclusions.First of all, according to the thermal model of the walls, glass, and roof, the thermal resistance of the building is significantly low. The enclosure is not good enough to prevent heat loss.Furthermore, there is no insulation present between the wall and column.The roof does not have any insulation either. Single glass panes with extremely low R-values take up a large part of the building facade. These, combined with eroded sealant and rusted steel frames, result in large heat losses from window and water leakage to the inside. At last, most part of the steel frame structure is visually corroded and damaged, resulting in weak structural and thermal performance. 

We also suggest some recommendations such as use double low-e glass instead of single glass. Add insulation in the wall and between the columns. The sealants around the window frames need to be replaced and then coated with all-weather paint to further extend its lifetime.

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