Building Science

Building Science is the study of buildings and construction techniques as they apply to the performance and sustainability of the structure. Many of the products and techniques associated with green construction are considered good building science.

The housing construction industry ranks among the worst in research and development. The independent nature of small builders combined with market pressures, have previously put the science of building at a low priority level. Rising energy costs and interest in green construction, have fueled the interest to learn a little more. 

Additionally, it's apparent that many consumers are demanding higher quality and performance from their builders. Recognized performance standards and third-party inspections are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Assurance that the structure and its systems are sustainable and performing correctly, has only been recently offered within the industry. Prior to recent awareness, there was no means for the consumer to really know what they were purchasing.
Florida Building Science
It can be argued that Central-Florida may not have ever developed without Disney and the invention of air-conditioning. The hot, humid climate makes life without AC nearly unbearable. Our unique environment creates demands on buildings that are unlike anywhere else in the country. Actually, some requirements within the national building code are incorrect as they apply to homes built in Florida.

Until the recent interest in “Green”, residential construction materials and methods have advanced little since the advent of air-conditioning and insulation. Roof trusses, plywood and PVC piping are some of the only significant changes prior to green awareness. In the last decade we’ve seen advances in building science, but not without some potential negative consequences.

Unknown to many consumers and even some building professionals, there are common construction techniques that can damage the structure and even create an unhealthy environment for its occupants. Climate conditions that are unique to Florida necessitate a strong understanding of building performance and the role that each material plays in the overall building system. Building science has improved because of the realization that all the components must function together as an integrated building system design.

Some science definitions and a little history lesson may provide an understanding of why a complete building system design is necessary.

The “Greenhouse Effect” is responsible for keeping our planet warm. Solar radiation warms the surface of the earth and our atmosphere keeps the heat from escaping. Upset the delicate balance and global warming or climate change may ensue. This is the same process that heats a greenhouse or makes the inside of our automobile hot on a sunny day. This process is also the reason why a typical attic gets so hot in the summer.

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Design and Construction Ideas and Information about Homes in the South. Florida and the Gulf Coast have unique climate and environmental conditions that have influenced the design of homes since long before air-conditioning was available. Lessons from “Olde Florida” vernacular design still apply today. With energy efficiency and a new green awareness on the minds of many in the industry, building systems and construction techniques are evolving forward with an eye on the past.