Modeling Enclosure Design in Above-Grade Walls

Stacey Rothgeb, J. Lstiburek, K. Ueno, S. Musunuru, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


This report describes the modeling of typical wall assemblies that have performed well historically in various climate zones. The WUFI (Warme und Feuchte instationar) software (Version 5.3) model was used. A library of input data and results are provided. The provided information can be generalized for application to a broad population of houses, within the limits of existing experience. The WUFI software model was calibrated or tuned using wall assemblies with historically successful performance. The primary performance criteria or failure criteria establishing historic performance was moisture content of the exterior sheathing. The primary tuning parameters (simulation inputs) were airflow and specifying appropriate material properties. Rational hygric loads were established based on experience - specifically rain wetting and interior moisture (RH levels). The tuning parameters were limited or bounded by published data or experience. The WUFI templates provided with this report supply useful information resources to new or less-experienced users. The files present various custom settings that will help avoid results that will require overly conservative enclosure assemblies. Overall, better material data, consistent initial assumptions, and consistent inputs among practitioners will improve the quality of WUFI modeling, and improve the level of sophistication in the field.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages126
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Building Science Corporation, Somerville, Massachusetts

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-65480

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4838


  • airflow
  • BSC
  • Building America
  • Building Science Corporation
  • cladding ventilation
  • moisture content
  • moisture flow
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • sheathing ventilation
  • wall assemblies
  • WUFI


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