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climates

Very Cold - A very cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 9,000 heating degree days or greater (65°F basis) or greater and less than 12,600 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Cold - A cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 9,000 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Mixed-Humid - A mixed-humid and warm-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Hot-Humid - A hot-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year. This definition characterizes a region that is similar to the ASHRAE definition of hot-humid climates where one or both of the following occur:

  • a 67°F r higher wet bulb temperature for 3,000 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year; or
  • a 73°F or higher wet bulb temperature for 1,500 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year.

Hot-Dry/Mixed-Dry - A hot-dry climate is defined as region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis)or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year.

A warm-dry and mixed-dry climate is defined as a region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Marine - A marine climate meets is defined as a region where all of the following occur:

  • a mean temperature of the coldest month between 27°F and 65°F;
  • a mean temperature of the warmest month below 72°F;
  • at least four months with mean temperatures over 50°F; and
  • a dry season in the summer, the month with the heaviest precipitation in the cold season has at least three times as much precipitation as the month with the least precipitation.

information

Building Science Insights are short discussions on a particular topic of general interest. They are intended to highlight one or more building science principles. The discussion is informal and sometimes irreverent but never irrelevant.

Building Science Digests provide building professionals from different disciplinary backgrounds with concise overview of important building science topics. Digests explain the theory behind each topic and then translate this theory into practical information.

Published Articles aare 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.

Conference Papers are peer-reviewed papers published in conference proceedings.

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.

Building America Reports are technical reports funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building America research program.

Designs That Work are residential Case Studies and House Plans developed by BSC to be appropriate for residential construction in specific climate zones. Case Studies provide a summary of results for homes built in partnership with BSC’s Building America team. The case study typically includes enclosure and mechanical details, testing performed, builder profile, and unique project highlights. House Plans 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.

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 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 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. Longer guides and manuals include background information to help facilitate a strong understanding of the building science behind the hands-on advice. 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 and 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. 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.

Guides and Manuals
Joseph Lstiburek
This guide provides mechanical ventilation requirements of occupied spaces in new low-rise residential buildings including single-family houses and multifamily structures such as apartment buildings...
Guides and Manuals
Betsy Pettit, Ken Neuhauser, Cathy Gates
The purpose of this guide is to provide useful examples of high performance retrofit techniques for the building enclosure of wood frame residential construction in a cold and somewhat wet climate....
Cold
Guides and Manuals
John Straube
High performance precast concrete enclosure walls stand apart from most "rainscreen" walls in several key respects: how they control rain penetration, how they provide airtightness, and their...
Guides and Manuals
Joseph Lstiburek
This 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 attic...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
This guide describes ways to meet the roof venting requirements as per building code while converting the attic into living space by moving the insulation to the underside of the roof deck between...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
This guide describes ways to attach siding in cases where wood sheathing is not used and provides prescriptive guidance on cladding attachment as per building code that allows cladding attachment...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
This guide details the interior vapor retarder requirements as per building code when insulating sheathing is installed on the outside of an exterior wall. The interior vapor retrader can be removed...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
This guide details wall bracing requirements for insulating sheathing as per building code and clarifies whether insulation board can be installed in lieu of plywood on the outside on an exterior...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
This guide provides code requirements for basement insulation and clarifies whether building code allows for leaving insulation exposed in the basement. The requirements are based on whether the...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
This appendix contains Building Science Information Sheets that provide more information for specific inspection points on the BSC Building America Quality Control Checklist. Each Information Sheet...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
The Building America Quality Control Checklist has been developed by Building Science Corporation as both a guide to assist in the transition to high performance home building, and as a simplified...
Guides and Manuals
Alex Lukachko
BSC’s Quality Assurance Roadmap outlines the approach to quality assurance in the construction process as recommended by Building Science Corporation for new residential construction. Seven process...
Guides and Manuals
Peter Baker
Residential housing design continues to move towards the development of high performance sustainable building systems. To be sustainable, a building must not only be efficient and durable but also...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
Water management is based on the basic principles of physics. The concepts of drainage, wetting and drying potential are generally easy to understand. Explaining with graphics, text, or words what...
Guides and Manuals
Joseph Lstiburek
How you live in your home and how you clean and maintain your home affect the quality of air in your home. Keeping your home clean and dry makes it comfortable and healthy for you and unfriendly and...
Guides and Manuals
Armin Rudd
A design process is described for sizing cooling and heating system capacity, for specifying the airflow and duct sizes to each conditioned space, and for specifying the free area needed to transfer...
Guides and Manuals
Armin Rudd
This document reviews ventilation strategies for different climate zones and includes schematic drawings and photographs of various ventilation installations. It provides practical recommendations...
Guides and Manuals
Joseph Lstiburek
This pamphlet is designed for members of the residential construction and remodeling industries, as well as owners and managers who work in affordable housing. It presents building guidance for both...
Guides and Manuals
Joseph Lstiburek
This pamphlet is designed for members of the residential construction and remodeling industries, as well as owners and managers who work in affordable housing. It presents building guidance for both...
Guides and Manuals
Building Science Corporation
After a high performance home has been designed, constructed, and commissioned, what ensures that the home is actually operated at peak performance? It takes just 24 easy-reading pages for the...
Cold

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