Building Science

153 Green Building Acronyms and Initials

Posted on January 8, 2014 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

Acronyms and initials (let's call that AI, for short, not to be confused with the other AI, which stands for artificial intelligence, or AIA, which stands for American Institute of Architects) are part of the jargon of every field. Our field, whether you call it building science, green building, home performance, or something else, is no exception.

What Is Heat?

Posted on December 25, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

While you slept last night, Santa Claus was putting his knowledge of physics to work. No, not with that silly anti-gravity stuff. Everyone knows the whole reindeer thing is just a cover for the way he really gets to all those houses in just one night. He uses one of the original Time Turners. In fact, Professor McGonagall got her first Time Turner from Santa himself.

The Mixed-Up IAQ and Infiltration Limit Blues

Posted on December 18, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

Last week, I caught the second day of Building Science Corporation's Experts' Session. (Click the link to download the presentations from the BSC website.) Joe Lstiburek spoke the whole day about ventilation, and I’ll be writing an article about that soon. At the end of that day, though, we got a little surprise.

Will More Ventilation Keep Students from Missing School?

Posted on December 11, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

A new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) makes a bold claim that increasing ventilation rates can cut the number of student absences related to illness.

How to Get Your Ducts Inside the Building Enclosure

Posted on December 4, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

I'm a big advocate of getting ducts inside the building enclosure. In cooling climates, getting ducts out of an unconditioned attic can save you 15% on your electricity bills. It can reduce the size of air conditioner you need by 25%. If it's not in such a harsh environment, your air conditioner will last longer, too.

The History of Peeling Paint, Insulation, and Vapor Barriers

Posted on November 27, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

Back in the 1930s, a rash of paint-peeling showed up across North America. One thing that most of these homes had in common was insulation in the walls. Painters put two and two together and decided that the problem was the insulation. According to building scientist Bill Rose, the painters surmised that the problem was happening because insulation “draws water,” and some refused to paint insulated houses.

The 2015 IECC Recognizes Home Energy Ratings

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

Great news, everyone! (If you read that in the voice of Professor Hubert Farnsworth, please don't let your imagination run away with you. This really is great news.) The HERS Index will part of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code. Why does that matter?

Because it will help home builders build better homes.

Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Cure-All

Posted on November 13, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

Spray foam insulation is a great product. Homes insulated with it can be some of the most efficient and comfortable homes built. I've been in plenty of homes insulated with spray foam and can tell you that, when done well, those homes are airtight and comfortable. I’ve also seen homes where the spray foam was a waste of money.

Will the Energy Star Homes Program Survive Version 3?

Posted on November 6, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

Back in 2009, I attended a webinar given by Sam Rashkin, head of the Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. new homes program at the time. (He has since left the EPA for the DOEUnited States Department of Energy..) He explained the changes coming in the program as they prepared for the transition from what we now call Version 2 to the new Version 3.

A Brief Introduction to WUFI, in 5 Easy Pieces

Posted on October 30, 2013 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD, GBA Advisor

If you have any involvement with the world of building science, you may have heard about something called WUFI and wondered what the heck it is. Maybe you've heard that it's a piece of software (several pieces, actually) that does hygrothermalA term used to characterize the temperature (thermal) and moisture (hygro) conditions particularly with respect to climate, both indoors and out. modeling. Well, today's your lucky day because I recently went through a two-day class on WUFI 1-D with Dr. Achilles Karagiozis and Mr. Mikael Salonvaara of Owens Corning, and I'll give you a brief explanation of what it's all about.

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