Definitions for Building Performance


In support of AIA’s Climate Action Plan, the Building Performance Knowledge Community (BPKC) developed building performance definitions for use by architects. These definitions establish a common vocabulary to assist in the design and construction of low to zero carbon buildings and beyond. BPKC's goal is to educate architects, owners, manufacturers, and contractors about the impacts of climate change on our community and how we as architects can reduce carbon emissions and drastically improve the energy efficiency of the buildings we design.

Phase 1: Control layer terms

Control layers are one of the most important components of the enclosure, and understanding these layers is critical to improving energy efficiency by providing environmental separation between the interior space and the exterior environment for all six surfaces of the building enclosure. Phase 1 of the building performance definitions project provides terms related to heat, air, and moisture control layers.


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Fiona Aldous; David Altenhofen; Will Babbington; Margaret Brown; Joseph Deringer, AIA; Greta Eckhardt, AIA; Brad Gellert, AIA; Michael Gibson, AIA; David Herron, AIA; Richard Keleher, AIA; Elizabeth Lewis, AIA; Emily M. McGlohn, AIA; Adam Pantelimon, PhD; Georg Reichard, PhD; Pamela Sams, AIA; Kim Shinn, PE; Cheryl Smith, AIA; Drake Wauters, AIA


These definitions are reviewed by the Building Performance Knowledge Community each year. If you have any questions or feedback regarding this document, contact us at

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