Design, Construction, and Field Validation of a Blown-In Fiberglass Wall System in a Cold, Wet, and Windy Climate

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In the Native Village of Tununak, located on Nelson Island in Southwest Alaska,buildings are exposed to wind-driven rain and snow throughout the year. The Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) and Knauf Insulation partnered with the community in 2018 to design a residence for a public safety officer. Construction began in fall 2021 and is scheduled to conclude in summer 2022. The house will use integrated trusses with floor, attic, and wall cavities filled with blown-in fiberglass insulation. Hygrothermal models of the building envelope system demonstrate that the high ambient moisture load will wet the outer edges of the insulation annually regardless of the extent and integrity of exterior weather sealing measures; blown-in fiberglass is expected to be more resilient to this wetting than blown-in cellulose. To verify this, researchers will embed temperature, relative humidity, and moisture sensors in the two windward walls of the house to monitor the ability of the blown-in fiberglass insulation to dry out after wetting events that may have occurred during the transport of the insulation to the building site, storage of the insulation on site, construction process, or after installation in the wall. Sensors will remain in place for two years,documenting the wall's performance over time and verifying the design's potential for use in buildings located in climates where the chance for moisture damage is high. Here, we describe the wall system , design criteria, and the results from the hygrothermal modeling. We share details on the monitoring system's components and the planned management and analysis of data. Finally, we explain how the experiences and data from this project will inform future builds in similar locations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 Residential Building Design & Construction Conference - University Park, Pennsylvania
Duration: 11 May 202212 May 2022


Conference2022 Residential Building Design & Construction Conference
CityUniversity Park, Pennsylvania

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5600-80835


  • building design
  • construction
  • energy efficiency
  • fiberglass insulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Design, Construction, and Field Validation of a Blown-In Fiberglass Wall System in a Cold, Wet, and Windy Climate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this