Building science is a multi-disciplinary field that involves the study of how buildings function as systems, and how this affects their performance. This includes everything from energy efficiency and air quality to structural integrity and durability. As home professionals and homeowners, it is important to understand the basics of building science in order to make informed decisions about the performance of your home.
When searching for a new home, it is important to consider the performance of the home in addition to its appearance. A home may look beautiful on the outside, but if it doesn’t perform well in terms of energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and overall comfort, it will not be a pleasant place to live in the long term. Building science helps us to understand how a home can provide comfort, health, safety, durability, and convenience.
One of the key principles of building science is energy efficiency. Proper insulation and air sealing can greatly improve a home’s energy efficiency, reducing energy costs and increasing comfort. This can be achieved through proper insulation, air sealing, and the use of high-efficiency windows and doors. Additionally, using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power can help to reduce a home’s carbon footprint and lower energy costs.
Indoor Air Quality
Another important aspect of building science is indoor air quality. The use of non-toxic building materials and proper ventilation can greatly improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of health problems. This can be achieved by using low-VOC paint, flooring, and cabinetry, as well as ensuring that there is proper ventilation throughout the home. Additionally, the use of air purifiers and air filters can help to remove allergens and pollutants from the air.
Structural Integrity and Durability
Structural integrity and durability are also key principles of building science. A home that is well-built and properly maintained will last longer and be more resistant to weather-related damage. This can be achieved through the use of high-quality building materials, proper foundation and framing techniques, and regular maintenance and upkeep. Additionally, features such as storm shutters and reinforced roofs can help to protect a home from severe weather.
Safety is another important aspect of building science. Properly designed and constructed homes can help to prevent accidents and protect residents from potential hazards. This can be achieved through the use of smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers, as well as proper electrical and plumbing systems. Additionally, features such as emergency generators and backup water systems can provide added protection in case of power outages or other emergencies.
Ease and Convenience
Ease and convenience are also important aspects of building science. A home that is easy to use and maintain will be more enjoyable to live in and will be more valuable in the long term. This can be achieved through the use of smart home technology, energy-efficient appliances, and easy-to-use systems such as programmable thermostats and automatic lighting. Additionally, features such as central vacuum systems and built-in storage can help to make a home more convenient and efficient.
Working with a professional who understands building science can help to ensure that a home looks great and performs well. This can include architects, builders, remodelers, and other home professionals who have a deep understanding of the principles of building science. They can help to design and construct a home that is both beautiful and efficient, or help to retrofit an existing home to improve its performance.
For those who want to learn more about building science, there are many resources available. The Everyday Green Home podcast, “The Art of the Science,” offers a wealth of information on building science and sustainable home design. Additionally, taking a class offered by a building science specialist can be very helpful, especially for those who are building or remodeling a house.
In conclusion, building science is an essential aspect of home design and construction that should not be overlooked. Understanding the basics of building science can help homeowners and home professionals to make informed decisions about the performance of their home, and working with a professional who understands building science can help to ensure that a home looks great and performs well.
Home Performance Counts, from NAR and NAHB