GREEN BUILDING: Whole System Approach & Building Science
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David K. Horvath, GMB, CAPS, CGP, LEED-AP
General Manager, Certified Builder
Office: (615) 791-5678
Cell:  (615) 319-0000
Email at: david@craftsmanhomesinc.com
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Designing and constructing an energy-efficient house requires careful planning and attention to details. Green building uses a ‘whole house systems approach’ which goes beyond seeing a home as just a summation of its individual parts and considers the interaction between you, your building site, your climate, and the home’s systems and equipment. Builders and designers who use this approach recognize that the features of one component in the house can greatly affect other components, which ultimately affects the overall energy efficiency of the house.

Whole-house design considers the building structure and all building components and systems during the design phase and integrates them to work together to save energy and reduce environmental impact.

The science of green building.
Building science plays a key role in understanding the concept of the “whole house approach” and how to use building science principles in successful and effective green building. The three principles are:

1.) Heat transfer.  There are three types of heat transfer in buildings. Each type has an impact on efficient, comfortable buildings and must be effectively addressed in green design and construction. The three types of heat transfer are conduction, convection, and radiation.

Conduction occurs where objects that are directly touching each other conduct heat from the warmer to the colder object. Heat transfer always works from warm to cold. Avoiding direct conduct between surfaces is often needed in avoiding energy loss in a structure.

Convection is heat transferred by way of moving fluids like air or water. When an object is warmer than the surrounding air or water, it will begin to transfer heat to that fluid and heat will move via the motion of that fluid. Heat waves rising off of an asphalt road on a hot day are a visible sign of convection. Heat is transferring from the asphalt via a fluid, the air above it.

Radiation is the transfer of heat through space from one object to another not via a fluid. For example, we can feel the heat of the sun via the effects of radiation through space.

2.) Moisture movement. Moisture is a tenacious enemy present in every climate. It will defeat any ill-conceived method of avoiding it. Moisture in buildings comes in two forms:

Bulk moisture – the liquid form of moisture, such as rainwater or leaks from plumbing. It must be kept from entering building cavities.

Vapor – Moisture in its vapor form moves through a home by two mechanisms: diffusion and air movement. Vapor diffusion is the movement of moisture through a solid material. Vapor also moves within buildings through air movement. The air and vapor are one and vapor always moves from warm to cold. Vapor movement by air transport is a far more powerful method of moving air than vapor diffusion.

3.) Airflow and Pressure.  Airflow is yet another building science principle that must be considered. Homes that are designed and built to avoid unintended airflow and air pressure problems are safer and more comfortable than those that neglect thee factors. It takes two factors to create airflow: a hole and a driving force.
There are innumerable potential holes in a home. Holes can exist at the rim joist, around windows and doors, in duct work, in sheathing, through chases, through electrical and plumbing penetrations, and leakage directly through porous building materials. Any home can have thousands of holes – some holes worse than others.
There are numerous driving forces at work, including wind pressure, mechanical systems pressures, and ventilation systems which create both desirable and undesirable pressures on a home. Stack effects, where cold air sinks and warm air rises, also cause flow and pressures within a home.
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A craftsman is a person who practices a special skill with great care and expertise.

Why use Craftsman Homes for your next home project?

1. Experience.

2. Track record.

3. Credentials.

4. Continuing                education.

5. Design skills.

6. Business
   stability.

7. Honest, reliable,
   and reasonable.

8. Professionalism.

9. Satisfaction              guaranteed.

10. Well organized.
Let us assist you with your pursuit of home excellence and lower energy costs. Call us today!
Resources for more information on the whole system approach and building science:
Whole House Systems Approach by the U.S. DOE - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
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