Since the beginning of time, man has desired to create a subtropical micro climate where he and his family could live in comfort – no matter what the outside conditions happen to be. And that is the challenge and thus the start of the science of buildings. It is a multi-faceted discipline that involves the enclosure, the habiliments (the equipment and other “stuff” that we bring into the enclosure) and the occupants. In its simplest terms, building science is the study of the function a building. A combination of scientific and engineering approaches are used to learn about and improve the quality of a building, from its design to its occupancy.
The science of buildings consists of a three point focus: the building, the stuff in the building and the occupants. But it is a bit more than that – it includes the various interactions that occur between each and the surrounding environment. The engineering of buildings embraces the calculations and assembly of the myriad components that are joined together to become the building desired by the owner/occupant.
How does your home use energy and how do you make it more energy efficient? Visit our Homes section.
Building science is similar to medical science in that it has not been perfected, but provides an intelligent approach to understanding complex systems and diagnosing problems. Over time, improvements are made that make it even more useful.
Pressures are created by one or more forces that interact with the building. Two are of natural causes – wind and stack and two related to human interaction - combustion and fans. There are four pressure fields that can be measured and monitored in buildings.
Humidity is a term that everyone uses, but technically speaking, not always accurately. We sometimes assume air is at high humidity when we are uncomfortably warm. Sometimes we are not aware of high humidity when the air is cool around 70°F.
Molds (and mildew) are fungi. You will learn about mold, the 4 critical requirements for mold growth, determining if you have mold, and practices that will minimize mold growth. Mold can be managed effectively in most cases and this guide will help you do that.
Windows are placed in buildings to provide a view of the outdoors and for the admission of daylight illumination to the interior. Along with these generally desirable features come solar radiant heat gain and conductive heat transfer. The latter adds to the cost of heating the building in winter and cooling it in summer.