building science

The Social Life of Bricks

A celebrity in the materials world, Mark Miodownik dreams of colour-changing walls and looks at the future of renewable buildings.

Mark Miodownik will never forget the day he became obsessed with materials. He was a schoolboy in 1985 when he was stabbed in the London Underground.

“When I saw that weapon in the police station later, I was mesmerized. I had seen razors before of course, but now I realized that I didn’t know them at all. (…) its steel edge was still perfect, unaffected by its afternoon’s work,” he writes in his bestselling book Stuff Matters.

Urban Solar Design Doubles as a Greenhouse

A solarium regulates temperatures and allows occupants to grow food in this flexible urban design.

Participating in the Solar Decathlon for the first time, the University of Buffalo took second place among the 14 teams with its Garden, Relax or Work—or GRoW—Home. Designed for an urban environment, the home features living space that expands and contracts with the growing seasons and centers on what contestants call a “GRoWlarium.” This greenhouse-­like space can be enjoyed as living space in benign weather and used as a greenhouse the rest of the time. It also encloses, buffers and moderates the conditioned space.

Green Builder Media Announces Hot 50 Products

More manufacturers are using technology to optimize efficiency, comfort and performance.
Press Release

February 23, 2016 /3BL Media/ - Green Builder Media recently announced its annual 2016 Hot 50 Products. Included on the list are products that contribute to a home’s intelligence, durability, energy efficiency and/or resilience. Many of this year’s picks optimized their functions by combining improved design with connected technology.

VIDEO: Develop a Plan on How to Improve Building Processes

The BASF HP+ Consultative Solution
Multimedia with summary

The multidisciplinary team of building scientists, architects, engineers and sustainable construction experts at BASF's Center for Building Excellence is using chemistry as the catalyst for more energy-efficient, durable and comfortable construction. Through our HP+ Consultative Solutions, we’re bringing their expert insight directly to you, connecting you to a wealth of knowledge about beyond code methods and more. 

How to Run Electrical Through Structural Insulated Panels

Builders at Mariposa Meadows are following these best practices for running electrical wires using chases.

Conversations with those new to SIPs inevitably turn to concerns and questions on how to run electrical through structural insulated panels. Most assume that the solid core of a SIP thwarts the efforts of your electrician to efficiently run wires through walls and roof. In actuality, with a bit of preplanning and knowledgeable SIP installers, Sparky can get wires from A to B with minimal effort.

What Makes a Home Livable?

From a building science perspective, three things define a home's comfort level: moisture, temperature and noise.

Humans are highly adaptable to different climates, but much of that adaptability is technology enhanced. Without heating, warm clothes, and so on, we're fairly fragile.

LiveScience notes that "people can live indefinitely in environments that range between roughly 40 °F and 95 °F (4 °C and 35 °C), if the latter temperature occurs at no more than 50 percent relative humidity."

Insulation and Air Sealing

Insulation makes any project greener, but choosing the best product requires more than just looking at its R-value.

IN THE MULTIFACETED world of thermal insulation and air sealing, there are several factors to consider. Do you select a product based solely on its thermal performance, or is that outweighed by its material composition and safety? And what about affordability? It’s not always easy to find one product that checks off all the right boxes.

Passive Solar and Earth-Bermed Homes Have a Chance This Time Around

Some energy-saving ideas from the 1970s are much more viable now, thanks to new products and systems.

Often, good ideas, simply because they've been around for a while, are assumed to be less effective, or even obsolete. But many of the energy-saving principles of the solar homes of the Carter era actually have the potential to work even better today. That's because insulating techniques, window glazings, and even window coverings have improved dramatically.

These techniques are not limited to new home construction. They apply whether you are starting from scratch on a new site, adding an addition, or dropping a modular home onto your lot.

Green Builder® Media Announces Winners of the 8th Annual Home of the Year Awards

Green Builder® magazine honors sustainable building project award winners for 2015
Press Release

December 18, 2015 /3BL Media/ - Green Builder Media, recently announced the winners of its 8th Annual Green Home of the Year Awards. Nine projects were selected to represent this year’s best green homes. This year’s homes upped the ante on overall sustainability and several of the winners have achieved net-zero energy or are net-zero ready.

The New Natural Building

Designers and builders are refining natural building systems for performance and speed of construction.

Earthen construction is ancient. Rammed earth structures in China can be dated to as early as 5000 BC. Adobe buildings erected in the desert Southwest of the United States still stand after centuries. In Europe, 400-hundred-year-old timber-framed, wattle-and-daub structures are still inhabited. In fact, the connection with time-honored practices is what draws many people to natural building systems. 
These systems can claim many advantages over modern construction. The materials are often locally sourced. They’re non-toxic.


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