Patrick Sisson, writing for Curbed, wrote a wonderful article: How air conditioning shaped modern architecture — and changed our climate. He states: Air conditioning enabled our great modernist buildings to rise, but it’s also fueled today’s energy and environmental crisis. AC helped create a new building typology, one that environmentally conscious architects and designers are … Continue reading Tracing the history of air conditioning’s impact on occupant health and comfort
Britain has a problem. Chances are, the problem that Britain is facing also affects many jurisdictions in the US. What is this problem? Energy modeling — the process of using sophisticated software to predict future building performance — isn’t as accurate as some industry professionals would like to believe. In other words, the supposed energy … Continue reading What happens when actual performance varies greatly from the energy model’s predictions?
There are some in the building industry — perhaps even a majority of people — that believe concrete is either waterproof, or that it is somehow immune to any negative effects from exposure to moisture. However, typical concrete is porous, with many tiny cracks, allowing water to penetrate. Exposed to freeze-thaw weather cycles, that water … Continue reading Researchers demonstrate high-performance concrete that resists water and minimizes cracking
Guess it all depends on the criteria being used to define what “perfect” really means, but if there is one person on this planet of ours that might have a clue what the perfect wall is, it is Joseph Lstiburek. At the wonderfully named Let’s Fix Construction website, building scientist extraordinaire Lstiburek contributed an article with … Continue reading Is there such thing as a “perfect wall” design?
Ronald Ray, writing for Construction Specifier, has a great article on different methods for detecting, diagnosing and pinpointing the location of leaks within various types of roofs. What makes Ray’s article so great is some of the cool new technologies outlined representing the bleeding edge of building forensics: All roofs eventually leak—it is just a matter of when … Continue reading The cutting edge of roofing forensics and leak detection technology
Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is a method of designing buildings using sophisticated 3D software that makes it much easier to visualize how various components and systems come together in a 3D space and how they will interact or interfere with one another. Perhaps most importantly, BIM facilitates identifying potential conflicts/defects prior to construction, and … Continue reading Pro Tip: BIM doesn’t have to be scary. Check out the BIM guide for owners from NIBS
Legionnaires’ Disease is a pneumonia-like affliction that affects a minority of people exposed to the Legionella pneumophila bacteria. It was first identified when 221 people attending a reunion for members of the American Legion that took place around the nation’s bicentennial in 1976 fell ill. Sadly, 34 of those people lost their lives and it wasn’t until January, 1977 when the cause of the mysterious illness was discovered.
After a recent outbreak in Hopkins, Minnesota which left one person dead and 23 sick, scientists were able to utilize DNA-sequencing to conclusively determine that the cause was a cooling tower at a manufacturing center. Those infected breathed in air in which Legionella had become aerosolized as a result of the cooling tower. What’s particularly frightening is that this cooling tower is less than 3 years old and exhibited no indication of defective construction. Continue reading “Minnesota may require building owners to register cooling towers to combat Legionnaires’ outbreaks”
During an earthquake, as most people may recall from grade school, sometimes a strange phenomenon occurs in sandy soils known as liquefaction. And it is exactly what it sounds like — the ground that is made up of solid particles (sand) suddenly behaves like a liquid.
Apparently, the Hartford, CT Mark Twain House & Museum contains an amazing collection of artifacts collected by Samuel Clemens throughout his life. Sadly, however, much of that collection has been threatened by mold growth caused by a faulty HVAC system. According to Susan Dunne of the Hartford Courant: In November 2015, mold was found in … Continue reading Faulty Geothermal Heating and Cooling System contributes to mold at historic Twain Museum
Sanjoy Malik, writing for Green Biz, discusses an issue that is something most building owners, developers, operators and other stakeholders aren’t too familiar with. However, for those of us with experience in improving/optimizing existing buildings, the issue can be a real deal breaker. What’s the problem? Since de-regulation of the energy utilities, the data produced … Continue reading Untapping the Big Data of Energy Management through innovative business models