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Designs That Work House Plans are developed by BSC to be appropriate for residential projects in specific climate zones. They are fully integrated construction drawing sets that include floor plans, framing plans and wall framing elevations, exterior elevations, building and wall sections, and mechanical and electrical plans. Please note that house plans are posted as examples of high performance housing designs and are not to be used for construction. For more information, see the note on the title page of the plans.
Enclosures That Work are Building Profiles and High R-Value Assemblies developed by BSC to be appropriate for residential construction in specific climate zones.
Building Profiles are residential building cross sections that include enclosure and mechanical design recommendations. Most profiles also include field expertise notes, material compatibility analysis, and climate challenges.
High R-Value Assemblies are summaries of the results of BSC's ongoing High R-Value Enclosure research — a study that BSC has undertaken for the US DOE's Building America research program to identify and evaluate residential assemblies that cost-effectively provide 50 percent improvement in thermal resistance.
Guides and Manuals are "how-to" documents, giving advice and instructions on specific building techniques and methods. Some, such as the Review of Residential Ventilation Technologies, cover multiple examples within a general topic area. Others, such as the Guide to Insulating Sheathing, are focused on a particular concept and its applications. Longer guides and manuals include background information to help facilitate a strong understanding of the building science behind the hands-on advice.
In addition to these longer standalone guides, this section also contains two quick, easy-to-read series. The IRC FAQ series answers common questions about the building science approach to specific building tasks (for example, insulating a basement). The READ THIS: Before... series offers guidelines and recommendations for everyday situations such as moving into a new home or deciding to renovate.
Information Sheets are short, descriptive overviews of basic building science topics, from duct sealing to reservoir claddings. Through illustrations, photographs, and straightforward explanations, each Information Sheet covers the essential aspects of a single topic. Common, avoidable mistakes are also examined in the What's Wrong with this Project? and What's Wrong with this Practice? mini-series.
Information Sheets are useful both as an introduction to building science and as a handy reference that can be easily printed for use in the field, in a design meeting, or at the building permit counter.
Published Articles are a selected set of articles written by BSC personnel and published in professional and trade magazines that address building science topics. For example, our work has appeared in Fine Homebuilding, Home Energy, ASHRAE's High Performance Buildings, The Journal of Building Enclosure Design and The Journal of Building Physics. We thank these publications for their gracious permission to republish.
We are passionate about building science and welcome new opportunities to share information. If your publication needs content about energy efficiency, durability, or other aspects of high-performance building, please contact us at email@example.com.
Research Reports are technical reports written for researchers but accessible to design professionals and builders. These reports typically provide an in-depth study of a particular topic or describe the results of a research project. They are often peer reviewed and also provide support for advice given in our Building Science Digests. The most recent documents posted are at the top of the list below.
Conference Papers are peer-reviewed papers published in conference proceedings.
Building America Reports are sponsored by Building America, part of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Understand when to vent your roof and when not to, and how to execute each approach successfully. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, Aug/Sept 2011, pages 68-72.
So-called double-façades (DF) or ventilated façades, environmental second skins, etc. have attracted great interest as modern building enclosures. Numerous examples have been built in Europe but only a few have been completed in North America. The DF label actually covers a wide range of different enclosure types. In most cases, a DF has three layers of glazing with ventilation and solar control devices between the outer two glazing layers, although some ventilate the space between the inner glazings. In most cases, the airflow through the glazing cavity is driven by natural buoyancy (hot air rises) aided by wind pressure differences, although some systems use small fans (often driven by photovoltaics). In hybrid systems, HVAC supply or exhaust air streams are directed through a glazing cavity before connecting with the outside. Reprinted with permission from Journal of Building Enclosure Design, 2007, pages 48-53.
Adhered veneers, in which masonry units are directly attached to a substrate via mortar and ties without a drainage or ventilation gap, have become a very popular finish in residential and light commercial construction. Reprinted with permission from Journal of Building Enclosure Design, Summer 2009, pages 31 - 35.
One-third of the energy you buy probably leaks through holes in your house. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, pages 45-49, October/November 2012.
Three sprayfoam topics that might have you rethinking your decisions. This article was first published in Sprayfoam Professional, Spring 2014, pages 16-19.
Aspen, Colorado has one of the most expensive real estate markets in the United States. The mountains around Aspen provide beautiful views, skiing, and small-town seclusion, but they also limit the space available for the city to grow. In 2000, the Aspen Area Community Plan called for affordable housing projects based on the goal of housing at least 60% of the city employees within the city limits. The Burlingame Ranch project is one major step towards achieving this goal.
Fairburn is the first energy-efficient, healthy, affordable, community in metro Atlanta. An energy analysis is also included for more information about energy savings.
Introduction The Guide provides the background and approach for the prep work necessary prior to adding attic insulation - focusing on combustion safety, ventilation for indoor air quality, and...
BA-0006: Discussion of the Use of Transfer Grilles to Facilitate Return Air Flow in Central Return Systems
The Building Science Consortium of the US DOE Building America Program seeks to construct energy efficient, durable, and healthy homes that consume 30% less energy than conventional homes built to...
Advanced space conditioning involves the integration of a building’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system with the building enclosure or building envelope. Download...
This is a report describing the test methodology and results for experiments run on two test houses at the Bonita Springs development in Fort Myers, FL.The goal was to determine the effect of attic...
The NAHB Research Center reports that the “typical” home generates about 3,500 pounds of wood waste during its construction, about half of which is solid sawn lumber.
Meeting Energy Star® levels of performance is one of the criteria for constructing homes to Building America levels of performance—defined by Building Science Consortium and others. Homes...
Here are the nitty-gritty details of photovoltaic systems. The details are meant to “de-mystify” both the technology and its economics.
Combo systems use a gas water heater to provide domestic water and space heating. Find out when its appropriate to use such a system and guidelines for doing it right Download Complete...
Just how do you most efficiently and cost-effectively cool and dehumidify inside air while maintaining sufficient introduction of outside air for ventilation?
Twenty homes were tested and monitored in the hot-humid climate of Houston, Texas, U.S.A., to evaluate the humidity control performance and operating cost of six different integrated...
It’s an important and even driving element for each of the four case studies in this report. So, why all the heartache over this single design element?
Insulating basement walls can be safely accomplished by assessing the moisture conditions of these walls and applying some basic "building science" to the design process.
Conditioned crawlspaces perform better than vented crawlspaces in terms of safety, health, comfort, durability and energy consumption. Conditioned crawlspaces also do not cost more to construct than...