Building Science

How safe is your house from water damage?

My neighborhood listserv is ablaze with people asking for help with repairs due to water damage. The recent rains are a good reminder that Austin gets an average 32.5″ of rain every year, which is to say that our buildings are pretty susceptible to rainwater damage. It’s common sense, yet, everyday I see houses built using risky construction details and building designs that ignore this significant element of our weather. How you deal with bulk water* at the roof, walls, and foundation (near grade) is very important to the durability of a building. If you are in the process...

‘Tis the season…for allergies – Indoor Air Quality

A few nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible feeling that I couldn’t breathe.  Very soon I realized I had a terribly stuffy, itchy nose, and a sore throat.  I’ve been suffering from these symptoms for a few days now.  While everyone in my household has taken a turn at a viral fever over the last few weeks, I know for a fact that I am suffering from allergies, not a viral infection. It’s that time of year again, when environmental airborne allergens are high.  Having lived in Austin (the allergy capital of the world)...

AIA CRAN Symposium – A professor, an architect, and the green police

I was in Minneapolis last week, attending the 2015 American Institute of Architects Custom Residential Architects Network (AIA CRAN) Symposium, “Elevating the Art of Residential Design and Practice”. I was CRAN last year and have to say that this years talks were well-rounded and very relevant to modern day architectural practice. I particularly enjoyed the following three lectures that discussed sustainability and green building.  A professor, an architect, and the green police presented: How the Collaborative Economy is Transforming Housing, by Thomas Fisher Integrated Green Design: High-Performance Design Strategies for Building Design & Construction, by Peter Pfeiffer A Review of Green Building Products &...