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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Just how do you most efficiently and cost-effectively cool and dehumidify inside air while maintaining sufficient introduction of outside air for ventilation?
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...
Fourteen houses, that also met measured energy efficiency criteria, had one of the six directly- or indirectly-integrated dehumidification and ventilation systems. Three reference houses had the...
Through the combined efforts of Building Science Corporation, The Louisiana State University, and the Catholic Charities Group, a systems engineering approach was used, that considered all aspects...
Based on Building America experience, this report is about selecting furnaces, water heaters, both or sometimes just one to accomplish both space heating and domestic hot water.
Keeping the Groundwater and Contaminants OutThe fundamentals of groundwater control date back to the time of the Romans: drain the site and drain the ground. Today that means collecting the run off...
The ProblemThe more snowfall, the more likely the problem. If the climate is very cold, there are less likely to be problems. Hence, ski resorts tend to be perfect areas for ice dams.Simply put, ice...
Very ColdColdMixed Humid
EIFS and Stucco Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) are a relatively new cladding system that combine a finish with a layer of exterior insulation. The finish is comprised of polymeric (...
We have investigated numerous units over the years that have been experiencing discoloration of carpeting due to particulate accumulation (see Photograph 1). In many unite we also observe...
Here is a pop quiz for you folks that are bored of Jeopardy. California is desert. Florida is a swamp. We build concrete slab-on-grade in both places. Which place has more slab moisture problems?...
Crawlspaces stink, they rot, and are just plain icky. Photograph 1 shows the modern crawlspace, which is a forest of water droplets on the underside of fiberglass batt insulation. The exposed wood...
Mixed HumidHot Humid
The environmental crisis, and hence green building design, revolve around a wide range of issues: habitat destruction, stormwater run-off, air pollution, climate change, and resource use. However,...
Joseph Lstiburek's classic list of building practices not recommended for hot-humid climates. This list was first posted on Building Science Corporation's website in 1997. 10. Vented Attics and...
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A homebuilder in the New England area has been building net zero energy single family homes since 2008 and is continuing with multiple small-scale subdivisions of 20 or more homes. This builder...