Building Science

Are You a Green Building Geek, Nerd, Dork, or Dweeb?

Posted on November 8, 2011 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

I hear a lot of people call themselves building science geeks, energy nerds, green building dorks, HVAC(Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Collectively, the mechanical systems that heat, ventilate, and cool a building. dweebs, weatherization wonks, and policy poindexters. (It's true! Some of them are imaginary people in my mind and some are aliens, but they really do say that.) What I see, though, is that most such people seem to throw these words around without understanding which is which and how dorks and nerds and geeks and dweebs differ.

Blower Door Testers Wanted — Scientists and Engineers Preferred

Posted on October 5, 2011 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

OK, the title here may be a little extreme, but if you've taken a look at the new chapter on performance testing and scope of work in the HERS Standards, you know what I'm talking about. RESNET just adopted this as the new chapter 8 in August of this year, and it goes into effect on 3 January 2012.

An AC Sizing Benchmark for High-Performance Homes

Posted on September 21, 2011 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

One of the most frustrating parts of my job as a Home Energy Rating (HERSIndex or scoring system for energy efficiency established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) that compares a given home to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Reference Home based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. A home matching the reference home has a HERS Index of 100. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is. A typical existing home has a HERS Index of 130; a net zero energy home has a HERS Index of 0. Older versions of the HERS index were based on a scale that was largely just the opposite in structure--a HERS rating of 100 represented a net zero energy home, while the reference home had a score of 80. There are issues that complicate converting old to new or new to old scores, but the basic formula is: New HERS index = (100 - Old HERS score) * 5.) provider is dealing with the size of air conditioners installed in Energy Star homesA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program to promote the construction of new homes that are at least 15% more energy-efficient than homes that minimally comply with the 2004 International Residential Code. Energy Star Home requirements vary by climate..

Lstiburek’s Rules for Venting Roofs

Posted on July 24, 2011 by Joe Lstiburek

Building Science Fundamentals: Roof, Part 1: Ventilation

By Dr. Joseph Lstiburek

Dr. Joseph Lstiburek talks about the not-so-controversial ways to maximize the efficiency and airflow of your roof and attic.

Video Transcript:
There’s been so much stuff said about roofs that you sometimes lose perspective. I’m going to start off by saying what might seem controversial but really shouldn’t be.

Is There a Downside to Lumpy Attic Insulation?

Posted on January 6, 2011 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

If your attic is going to have 50 bags of insulation blown into it, does it make much of a difference if it goes in flat or lumpy?

One reason that I'm interested in the question is that my dissertation in grad school was called “Flat or Lumpy.” (Of course, it had the requisite incomprehensibility in the subtitle, with words like “heteroepitaxy.”) Those two words in the title, which cut to the heart of what my surface physics research was all about, also describe a property of insulation that's important in building science.

Healthy Child Healthy World, Part 3

Posted on November 11, 2010 by Annette Stelmack

Greenbuild kicks off next week with lots of anticipation and excitement. If you are going to be in Chicago, please take the opportunity to visit the Healthy Home 2010 for a CEU and a tour of a beautiful, healthy, green home. Hop on the bus and receive CEU credits from Cambria and Benjamin Moore during your ride to and from the home.

Healthy Child Healthy World, Part 2

Posted on October 19, 2010 by Annette Stelmack

To create healthy and sustainable interiors for our clients, it is essential that we understand how to enhance indoor air quality, tapping into IAQIndoor air quality. Healthfulness of an interior environment; IAQ is affected by such factors as moisture and mold, emissions of volatile organic compounds from paints and finishes, formaldehyde emissions from cabinets, and ventilation effectiveness.-specific resources and expertise. GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) is at the top of my resource list.

Healthy Child Healthy World, Part 1

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Annette Stelmack

Last year I had a lengthy conversation with a dear colleague and friend, Jill Salisbury, regarding a potential opportunity to educate the residential market about healthy and sustainable homes. We were frustrated with the status quo of showhouses treading the waters of "greenwashingDissemination of misleading or false information designed to make an organization or product appear more environmentally friendly than it actually is.." Jill had the good fortune of meeting Nancy and James Chuda, founders of Healthy Child Healthy World, and was quickly inspired to pursue the idea of creating a dynamic partnership.

The History Of Insulation

Posted on August 27, 2010 by John Straube

In our last episode, Dr. John talked about How Heat Moves Through Homes and why radiant barriers work better in outer space than on earth.

In this episode, Dr. John talks about the history of insulation, how different materials work, and where they make sense.

The history of insulation comes about because of the history of structural engineering. Now, I’m a recovering structural engineer, which is probably why I like to think of it that way.

Vapor Profiles Help Predict Whether a Wall Can Dry

Posted on August 5, 2010 by Peter Yost

Today’s walls, roofs, and floors are better insulated, tighter, and made with a much greater variety of components than they used to be, making them a lot more susceptible to moisture problems when they get wet. Compared to the old days, today's walls and ceilings are more complicated and can be very slow to dry.

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