Investigation of Ice Dams and Cold Climate Design

Mr. Norwood has experience in the investigation, analysis and repair of building failures in high altitude and cold climates.  These issues can include insulation failures as well as ice dams, ice formation in egress areas, and the creation of fall zones to address sliding roof snow and ice.

Insulation does not stop the flow of heat, rather it slows it down.  Our understanding of how buildings perform in Cold Climates allows us to address heat transfer to improve energy efficiency and to reduce the risk of frozen pipes, window frosting, and the formation of ice in wall assemblies.  Detailing of the exterior envelope requires care to avoid thermal bridging.  As a building becomes more energy efficient and the air leakage rates are reduced, new challenges arise such as indoor air quality and condensation of interior humidity at windows and, in cases, within the wall assembly.  Ice dams and related problems are closely tied to outside temperature fluctuations and the loss of heat from the occupied conditioned space into the attic or interstitial space.  Building codes in the Western mountain states reflect the unique challenges of local snow load and roof snow shedding requirements. In cold climates, air entertainment of exterior concrete is often required.

We also can investigate failures of exterior concrete that involved issues of air entrainment, concrete mix, concrete finishing, and the overall design of structures to minimize the exposure of the exterior concrete to freeze/ thaw cycles. Mr. Norwood is licensed states where ice dams can form including Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, California and Washington.  Many cold climates are at high altitudes where buildings are exposed to higher levels of ultraviolet radiation.  At these altitudes, UV damage to exterior finishes impacts the durability of UV sensitive materials such as plastic and wood products.

The firm has presented a seminar on ice dams and cold climate design .