INTRODUCTION TO SERIES ON BUILDING SCIENCE
Over the next few weeks I will be publishing a series of articles on practical applications of what has come to be known as “Building Science”. Yes, there is such a term. “They don’t build them like they used to” is quite true, but in a good way, we build much better now.
We have learned so much since the days of the log cabin in the real old days, and Sears kit houses which symbolized the emergence of fast and efficient building techniques after WW2. Every year there are new products offered by an industry that has a world wide market.
In North America we build primarily with wood because that is a resource we have available. In more Southern countries cement and masonry are the dominant building materials. High-rise buildings are made primarily of steel.
The concepts of preventing moisture infiltration, of creating healthy and comfortable buildings is similar in all. What is important is a thorough understanding of how to combine materials so as to prevent holes. Holes that allow water to enter or air to both enter or exit uncontrolled.
In the evolution of building techniques we have both improved our buildings in terms of energy efficiency, and at the same time created some flaws such as trapping moisture. We have made our buildings more comfortable but at the same time sealed in some very harmful chemicals.
That is where building science comes in, it is the well studied concept of best practices. It is how to have an energy efficient comfortable and healthy building. Topics this series will cover:
- We will address what constitutes a high performance building or home.
- We will learn how to avoid the pitfalls of moisture build-up and mold creation.
- We will learn why we now split insulation into both inside and outside the wall to create what is called CI or Continuous Insulation.
- We will learn why we want to think of a building enclosure, and not building envelope.
Due to the horrific fires suffered by so many residents of California in the last year, we will also cover ways of lessening vulnerability to fire. For example, we are finding fire often entered attics through vents and started burning the roof structure from the inside.
In the next issues you will find information on:
- Thermal movement control in homes (heat and cold)
- Water barriers and rain screens that allow the building’s skin to breathe but repel water
- Various new products that are worth considering in new construction
- Fire prevention measures