The Future of Building Science | Emerging Building Technologies


Exploring the Role of Building Science in New Construction Homes

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Exploring the Role of Building Science in New Construction Homes

Introduction to Building Science

Building Science is a multidisciplinary field that applies the principles of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering to the design and construction of buildings. It is the study of how various elements of a building interact with each other and the environment. This includes understanding the behavior of building materials, the flow of heat and moisture, the effect of weather conditions, and the impact of occupants' behavior.

The importance of Building Science cannot be overstated. It is crucial for creating buildings that are energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy, and durable. By understanding and applying building science principles, we can design and construct buildings that perform well, save energy, and support the well-being of their occupants.

The Science Behind Building Design

Building design is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of various scientific principles. Let's delve into how physics, chemistry, and biology play a role in building design.

Physics in Building Design

Physics is fundamental to building design. It helps us understand how forces and energy interact within a building. For instance, the principles of thermodynamics are used to manage heat flow in a building, ensuring energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Structural design, too, relies heavily on physics. It involves understanding and applying the principles of statics and dynamics to ensure that buildings can withstand various forces, such as wind loads and seismic forces. You can learn more about this from the Whole Building Design Guide.

Chemistry in Building Design

Chemistry, too, plays a significant role in building design. It helps us understand the properties of different building materials at the molecular level. This understanding is crucial for selecting the right materials for different parts of a building. For instance, understanding the chemical properties of concrete can help builders make it more durable and resistant to environmental conditions. Similarly, the chemistry of different insulating materials can factor in to the effectiveness of they reduce heat flow. You should also take note that heat transfers in 3 different ways.

  1. Radiation
  2. Conduction
  3. Convenction

The type of insulation chosen may be great at slowing the conductive heat flow but may be poor at reducing airflow, thus being less effective at addressing convention heat flow. This is where products like AeroBarrier excel. By stopping the transmission of air and creating an effective air seal, AeroBarrier reduces heat gain or loss via convection.

Biology in Building Design

Lastly, biology is increasingly recognized as an important factor in building design. This is particularly true in the context of sustainable or "green" building design. Understanding the biological processes of plants, for instance, can inform the design of green roofs or living walls. These features can improve a building's energy efficiency, manage stormwater, and enhance the well-being of building occupants. Moreover, understanding human biology can help us design buildings that are healthier and more comfortable. For instance, natural light in buildings can support human circadian rhythms, improving occupants' sleep and overall health. More about this can be found on the Green Built Alliance website.

Role of Engineering in Building Science

Engineering is a critical component of Building Science. It brings together the principles of physics, chemistry, and biology, applying them to the design and construction of buildings.

Engineering Principles in Building Design

Engineering principles guide the structural design of buildings, ensuring they can withstand various forces such as gravity, wind, and seismic activity. These principles also inform the design of building systems such as HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), plumbing, and electrical systems. These systems need to be designed and installed correctly to ensure the comfort, safety, and health of building occupants. or more insights on this, the Whole Building Design Guide is a valuable resource.

Proper HVAC System Sizing

In climate zones that are prone to hot and humid weather, the HVAC system is not only cooling the house during the summer, it's also pulling moisture out of the air. This dehumidification process is engineered into the mechanical HVAC system and is an important feature of the system. When using AeroBarrier and other advanced building techniques to make homes tighter and more energy efficient, it's important to consult with you mechanical design professionals to make sure the HVAC system is sized properly. A system that is over sized runs the risk of short cycling, or running in short bursts to cool the home quickly. While this is great when you are trying to keep your living space cool, it does not allow the system to run long enough for effective dehumidification. Engineers perform a "Manual J" calculation to properly size your heating, ventilation and cooling equipment. For tighter homes with less leaks, the Manual J will typically specify a smaller HVAC system, leading to a lower up front cost and a more efficiently operated home.

Building Materials and Their Scientific Properties

The choice of building materials is a crucial aspect of building design and construction. It significantly influences a building's performance, durability, and environmental impact.

Common Building Materials

Common building materials include concrete, steel, wood, glass, and various types of insulation. Each of these materials has its own properties and uses in a building. For instance, concrete is often used for foundations and structural elements due to its strength and durability. Wood, on the other hand, is commonly used for framing in residential construction because of its versatility,  availability and ease of use.

Scientific Properties of Building Materials

The scientific properties of building materials greatly influence their performance. For example, the thermal conductivity of a material determines how well it insulates against heat transfer. The strength of a material, measured in terms such as compressive strength or tensile strength, determines how much load it can carry. The durability of a material, its resistance to environmental conditions such as moisture and UV radiation, influences how long it will last. Understanding these properties is crucial for selecting the right materials for each part of a building. More about this can be found on the Designing Buildings Wiki.

Building Science in Construction

Building science plays a pivotal role in the construction industry, informing every stage of a building's life cycle, from planning and design to construction and facilities management.

Planning and Designing Buildings

In the planning and design phase, building science helps us understand how a building will interact with its environment and its occupants. It informs decisions about the building's orientation, layout, and systems to optimize energy efficiency, comfort, and health. For instance, the principles of solar design can be used to maximize natural light and passive solar heating. More about this can be found on the Whole Building Design Guide.

Construction and Facilities Management

During construction, building science guides the selection and installation of materials and systems. It helps ensure that the building envelope is properly sealed and insulated, that moisture is effectively managed, and that the building's systems are correctly integrated. In facilities management, building science informs strategies for maintaining and operating the building to ensure ongoing performance and occupant well-being.

Building Science for Sustainability

Sustainability is a key goal of modern building science. It involves designing and constructing buildings that minimize environmental impact while providing a healthy and comfortable environment for occupants.

Optimizing Building Performance

Building science helps optimize building performance by reducing energy use, improving indoor air quality, and enhancing durability. This involves designing efficient building systems, selecting appropriate materials, and implementing effective construction techniques. For instance, a well-insulated building envelope can significantly reduce heating and cooling loads, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainability in Building Design

Sustainable building design goes beyond energy efficiency. It also considers factors such as water efficiency, waste reduction, and the use of sustainable materials. For instance, rainwater harvesting systems can reduce water use, while the use of recycled or renewable materials can reduce a building's environmental footprint. Moreover, sustainable design can enhance occupant health and comfort, for example, through the use of non-toxic materials and the provision of natural light and ventilation. More about this can be found on the Green Built Alliance website.

AeroBarrier: Revolutionizing Air Sealing in Building Science

AeroBarrier is a groundbreaking solution in the construction industry that addresses one of the key aspects of building science - air sealing. Here's how AeroBarrier can be a valuable tool in building science for new construction homes:

Energy Efficiency

One of the primary goals of building science is to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings. AeroBarrier helps achieve this by sealing tiny cracks and holes in the building envelope that can lead to significant heat loss. By reducing air leakage, it helps to lower energy costs associated with heating and cooling.

Indoor Air Quality

Another important aspect of building science is ensuring healthy indoor air quality. By sealing the building envelope, AeroBarrier can help prevent outdoor pollutants from entering the home and indoor pollutants from accumulating, thereby improving the overall indoor air quality.


Building science also focuses on enhancing the durability of buildings. By providing a comprehensive air seal, AeroBarrier can help protect the building envelope from issues related to moisture and condensation, which can lead to structural damage over time.


A well-sealed home can enhance occupant comfort by reducing drafts and helping to maintain consistent indoor temperatures.

Simplicity and Effectiveness

AeroBarrier is an automated system that takes the guesswork out of air sealing. It can seal the entire building envelope in a matter of hours, and it provides real-time feedback, so you can achieve and verify the desired level of air tightness.

If you believe in the importance of factoring building science into your construction project and are considering AeroBarrier, Contact Us for additional information and pricing. We would love to be a part of your project.

Conclusion: The Future of Building Science

As we look to the future, building science continues to evolve and innovate. New techniques and technologies are emerging that promise to further enhance the performance and sustainability of buildings.

Emerging Techniques and Technologies in Building Science

Emerging techniques in building science include advanced modeling and simulation tools that allow us to predict a building's performance more accurately. New technologies like AeroBarrier are also being developed to optimize the construction process and enhance the overall performance of the structures we are building today.

Predictive Capability of Building Science

The predictive capability of building science is becoming increasingly important. As we gain more data and better tools, we can anticipate and address potential issues before they become problems. This not only improves building performance and sustainability but also reduces costs and enhances occupant satisfaction.

In conclusion, building science is a dynamic and evolving field that is fundamental to the design, construction, and operation of buildings. As we continue to learn and innovate, we can look forward to buildings that are even more efficient, sustainable, and supportive of human health and well-being.

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