Fill in the search criteria to search the database or view index of all documents.

climates

Very Cold - A very cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 9,000 heating degree days or greater (65°F basis) or greater and less than 12,600 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Cold - A cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 9,000 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Mixed-Humid - A mixed-humid and warm-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Hot-Humid - A hot-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year. This definition characterizes a region that is similar to the ASHRAE definition of hot-humid climates where one or both of the following occur:

  • a 67°F r higher wet bulb temperature for 3,000 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year; or
  • a 73°F or higher wet bulb temperature for 1,500 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year.

Hot-Dry/Mixed-Dry - A hot-dry climate is defined as region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis)or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year.

A warm-dry and mixed-dry climate is defined as a region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Marine - A marine climate meets is defined as a region where all of the following occur:

  • a mean temperature of the coldest month between 27°F and 65°F;
  • a mean temperature of the warmest month below 72°F;
  • at least four months with mean temperatures over 50°F; and
  • a dry season in the summer, the month with the heaviest precipitation in the cold season has at least three times as much precipitation as the month with the least precipitation.

information

Building Science Insights are short discussions on a particular topic of general interest. They are intended to highlight one or more building science principles. The discussion is informal and sometimes irreverent but never irrelevant.

Building Science Digests provide building professionals from different disciplinary backgrounds with concise overview of important building science topics. Digests explain the theory behind each topic and then translate this theory into practical information.

Published Articles aare a selected set of articles written by BSC personnel and published in professional and trade magazines that address building science topics. For example, our work has appeared in Fine Homebuilding, Home Energy, ASHRAE's High Performance Buildings, The Journal of Building Enclosure Design and The Journal of Building Physics. We thank these publications for their gracious permission to republish.

Conference Papers are peer-reviewed papers published in conference proceedings.

Research Reports are technical reports written for researchers but accessible to design professionals and builders. These reports typically provide an in-depth study of a particular topic or describe the results of a research project. They are often peer reviewed and also provide support for advice given in our Building Science Digests.

Building America Reports are technical reports funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building America research program.

Designs That Work are residential Case Studies and House Plans developed by BSC to be appropriate for residential construction in specific climate zones. Case Studies provide a summary of results for homes built in partnership with BSC’s Building America team. The case study typically includes enclosure and mechanical details, testing performed, builder profile, and unique project highlights. House Plans are fully integrated construction drawing sets that include floor plans, framing plans and wall framing elevations, exterior elevations, building and wall sections, and mechanical and electrical plans.

Enclosures That Work are Building Profiles and High R-Value Assemblies developed by BSC to be appropriate for residential construction in specific climate zones. Building Profiles are residential building cross sections that include enclosure and mechanical design recommendations. Most profiles also include field expertise notes, material compatibility analysis, and climate challenges. High R-Value Assemblies are summaries of the results of BSC's ongoing High R-Value Enclosure research — a study that BSC has undertaken for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building America research program to identify and evaluate residential assemblies that cost-effectively provide 50 percent improvement in thermal resistance.

Guides and Manuals are "how-to" documents, giving advice and instructions on specific building techniques and methods. Longer guides and manuals include background information to help facilitate a strong understanding of the building science behind the hands-on advice. This section also contains two quick, easy-to-read series. The IRC FAQ series answers common questions about the building science approach to specific building tasks (for example, insulating a basement). The READ THIS: Before... series offers guidelines and recommendations for everyday situations such as moving into a new home or deciding to renovate.

Information Sheets are short, descriptive overviews of basic building science topics and are useful both as an introduction to building science and as a handy reference that can be easily printed for use in the field, in a design meeting, or at the building permit counter. Through illustrations, photographs, and straightforward explanations, each Information Sheet covers the essential aspects of a single topic. Common, avoidable mistakes are also examined in the What's Wrong with this Project? and What's Wrong with this Practice? mini-series.

Information Sheets
Basements are part of a home, within the building boundary—despite repeated attempts over the years to disconnect them from the living space. Because of this, basements should be designed and...
Information Sheets
Polyisocyanurate insulation is a common commercial and residential roof and wall insulation. It has one of the highest R-values per inch of thickness among common insulations.However, labeled R-...
Very ColdCold
Information Sheets
Cavity insulation combined with insulating sheathings are common in residential wall construction. Cavity insulations can be categorized as rolled batt; blown-in or loose-fill (fibrous insulation—...
Information Sheets
 The information presented has been compiled from:ASHRAE Fundamentals - 2001Moisture Control in BuildingsCMHCNRC/IRCIEA Annex 24Manufacturer dataWhen using this information, it MUST be done in the...
Information Sheets
In building air barriers, the field of the opaque wall typically does not contribute strongly to the building’s overall air leakage.  Instead, details that connect building components are often the...
Information Sheets
Some common locations for large holes in the air barrier include bathtubs, showers, fireplace enclosures, and chimneys. Holes behind tub and shower enclosures are common, as these enclosures are...
Information Sheets
Windows are elements of the building enclosure system that perform many building enclosure functions. One of the building enclosure functions that windows must fulfill is that of an air barrier. As...
Information Sheets
Typical penetrations through the primary components of the air barrier system include plumbing pipes and vents, electrical wires and conduits, electrical fixtures, other mechanical services, and, in...
Information Sheets
Gypsum board drywall is, itself, a suitable air barrier material. The taping of drywall seams results in a plane of airtightness at the field of the wall. However, several steps must be taken to use...
Information Sheets
Good design and practice involve controlling the wetting of building assemblies from both the exterior and interior and different climates require different approaches. Vapor Permeance...
Information Sheets
As they are typically used in buildings today, vapor barriers are a cold climate artifact that has migrated into other climates more from ignorance than need. However, they often prevent assemblies...
Information Sheets
The requirements in the code can be used for wood framed structures with temperature and humidity conditions typical of residential occupancy.Three classes of vapor control are defined depending on...
Information Sheets
Managing exterior sources of liquid water, i.e. rainwater and groundwater, are one of the principal functions of the building enclosure system, and site work (refer to Information Sheets 101, and...
Information Sheets
Claddings made of wood, fiber cement, stucco, concrete, and masonry all absorb water to varying degrees. Once the reservoirs get wet, the stored water can migrate elsewhere and cause problems....
Information Sheets
It is common practice to install a complete WRB on a wall assembly before attaching a deck ledger. Then, when the deck ledger is attached, structural connections at this location breech this water...
Information Sheets
Gravity is the driving force behind drainage. The “down” direction harnesses the force of gravity and the “out” direction gets the water away from the building enclosure assemblies, openings,...
Information Sheets
Window and doors are typically installed using one of two approaches: 1) barrier system installation or 2) a drained system installation. Barrier installations do not provide for forgiveness to...
Information Sheets
“Rain is the single most important factor to control in order to construct a durable structure.”    - Dr. Joseph LstiburekDrainage planes (also referred to as “water resistive barrier” or WRB) are...
Information Sheets
Common Advanced Framing DetailsOptimum-value engineering (OVE) framing techniques were developed under a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiative in the 1960's to cut the cost of houses by...
Information Sheets
Keeping soil gas (radon, water vapor, herbicides, termiticides, methane, etc.) out of foundations cannot be done by building hole-free foundations because hole-free foundations cannot be built. Soil...

Pages