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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.
Enclosures that Work
This overview summarizes the truss wall construction including the advantages and disadvantages of this construction strategy. Complex two dimensional heat flow analysis and one dimensional...
Enclosures that Work
This overview summarizes the offset frame wall construction including the advantages and disadvantages of this construction strategy. Complex two dimensional heat flow analysis and one dimensional...
Enclosures that Work
This overview summarizes EIFS wall construction including the advantages and disadvantages of this construction strategy. Complex two dimensional heat flow analysis and one dimensional hygrothermal...
Enclosures that Work
This overview summarizes double stud with spray foam wall construction including the advantages and disadvantages of this construction strategy. Complex two dimensional heat flow analysis and one...
Enclosures that Work
This overview summarizes double stud wall construction including the advantages and disadvantages of this construction strategy. Complex two dimensional heat flow analysis and one dimensional...
This article briefly repeats some of the information in the other mold articles but also includes information on how to prevent mold in residential structures. Mold requires water. No water, no mold. Mold is the result of a water problem. Fix the water problem, clean up the mold and you have fixed the mold problem. For more information, see Popular Topics/Homeowner Resources.
The purpose of this document is to assist builders with the decisions regarding what to do and how to do it when mold is found in specific locations. This article provides both general guidelines for mold remediation as well as specific guidelines for the typical locations where mold is most often found in houses. For more information, see Popular Topics/Homeowner Resources.
Mold testing procedures were not developed to determine whether a home is “safe” or “healthy” or “clean." Although this article is titled "Mold Testing" it actually tells you why testing for mold is usually not needed. For more information, see Popular Topics/Homeowner Resources.
Too much mold can affect the health of you and your family. In addition, mold can damage or destroy building materials such as wood or gypsum board in our homes. This article answers your questions about mold, what it is, where it grows, how it spreads, how it can be prevented. For more information, see Popular Topics/Homeowner Resources.
Builders for many years have put mechanical equipment and ducts in non-living spaces such as crawlspaces and attics primarily to save valuable floor space. Be that as it may (there are lots of good reasons for having this equipment in conditioned spaces, GIVEN proper attention to ventilation and pressurization issues), it makes perfect sense to condition these areas, for a variety of energy, moisture and durability reasons.
What relative humidity should I have in my home? Seems like a simple enough question. However, the answer can sometimes be difficult to understand.
Unvented roof systems can be safely used in many different climates. In cold climates, insulating sheathing must be added exterior to the roof sheathing to prevent condensation on the underside of the roof sheathing.
Brick is a reservoir cladding, meaning that it absorbs and stores water (rain) when it becomes wet. In some homes, with brick veneer cladding systems, mold contamination has occurred within exterior wall cavities. In some homes, wood decay at bottom plates has also occurred.
This is a concise overview of the principles and steps to follow when dealing with water from the foundation to the roof.
The Vancouver-area “leaky condo crisis” began to surface in the 1980s. An unusually large number of moisture-related problems, not only in condos but also in most building types, prompted extensive...
Designs that Work
BSC collaborated with Greencraft Builders in Prosper, TX on a 2008 prototype house called the Greenspoint House. This house demonstrates the energy efficiency and durability upgrades that Greencraft...
One-third of the energy you buy probably leaks through holes in your house. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, October/November 2012, pages 45-49.
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.
Today’s houses make it easier for mold to find the food and water it needs to thrive. The cure is a quick cleanup and smarter choices in materials. Reprinted with permission from Fine Homebuilding, December 2006/January 2007, pages 70-75.
Outdoor air is added to a building via a controlled ventilation system. What isn't controlled is the air change created by wind effects, stack effects and pressure effects caused by the operation of the HVAC system. The following article was published in ASHRAE Journal, April, 2002, pages 18-21. Reprinted with permission.