information

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 info@buildingscience.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.

37 records found.
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John Straube
Background on SustainabilityThe environmental challenge we face can be summarized as dealing with an increasing population with increasing consumption per person and increasing damage per action....
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John Straube
Buildings in the BeginningBuilding probably began with simple forms of construction being used for shelter from the wind, sun and rain. Gradually, as the desire for better shelter grew, suitable...
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John Straube
A major trend is that the planets population is growing. The earth’s population will grow by about three billion people (a 50% increase), in the next 50 years, one billion of whom will be in...
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John Straube
BackgroundHeat flow can be a transient or a steady process. In the transient state, temperature and/or heat flow vary with time. Steady-state heat flow occurs when the temperature and heat flow...
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Joseph Lstiburek
Various strategies can be implemented to minimize the risk of moisture damage. The strategies fall into the following three groups:control of moisture entrycontrol of moisture accumulationremoval of...
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John Straube
Driving RainDriving rain is typically the largest source of moisture for the above-grade building enclosure.  Hence, control of rain penetration and absorption is a fundamental function of the...
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John Straube
IntroductionIt has long been recognised that the control of air flow is a crucial and intrinsic part of heat and moisture control in modern building enclosures [Wilson 1963, Garden 1965].  That this...
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John Straube
The Nature of the Building EnclosureBoth the above-grade and the below-grade portions of the building enclosure are part of a physical system involving three interactive components: the exterior...
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John Straube
IntroductionThe design of building enclosures to control rain penetration and control rain shedding is typically based on experience and rules of thumb that make use of traditional details. Unlike...
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John Straube
Why Test?In general, there are several reasons why information about airtightness—especially quantitative information—is useful:Air leaking out of the enclosure causes energy to be consumed when...
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Joseph Lstiburek
Throughout the balance of this digest the terms attic and roof will and can be used interchangeably.In cold climates, the primary purpose of attic or roof ventilation is to maintain a cold roof...
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Joseph Lstiburek
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...
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Joseph Lstiburek
Air barriers are systems of materials designed and constructed to control airflow between a conditioned space and an unconditioned space. The air barrier system is the primary air enclosure boundary...
Very ColdCold
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Joseph Lstiburek
Drainage planes are water repellent materials (building paper, house wrap, sheet membranes, etc) that are located behind the cladding and are designed and constructed to drain water that passes...
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Joseph Lstiburek
Confusion on the issue of vapor barriers and air barriers is common. The confusion arises because air often holds a great deal of moisture in the vapor form. When this air moves from location to...
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Joseph Lstiburek
In most houses when HVAC systems are operating, air change rates of between 0.5 and 1.0 ach are common. Between 150 cfm and 200 cfm of outdoor air is typically introduced in this manner when systems...
Hot Humid
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Joseph Lstiburek
IntroductionWater is supposed to be easy to understand.  It only comes in four forms or states [1]. And the rules governing water movement are straightforward:Water runs downhill due to gravity.Air...
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Joseph Lstiburek
IntroductionAir flow in buildings is complex, time dependent and multi-directional. The understanding of air flow through and within buildings has been based on the requirement for continuity of...
Hot HumidHot Dry/Mixed Dry
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Joseph Lstiburek
CompartmentalizationThe author is a proponent of the individual buildings and individual services and systems school in addition to being a Red Sox fan. In the author’s world compartmentalization...
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Joseph Lstiburek
We actually do know how to address wind, rain and flood. However, we don’t often address all three simultaneously. The lesson of Hurricane Katrina on this score is particularly harsh. Rebuilding...
MarineMixed HumidHot Humid

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