Blogging from Building Science Summer Camp

Stan Gatland photo_1I am Stan Gatland, Manager, Building Science Technology at CertainTeed Corporation.  I am joining my colleague, Lucas Hamilton, in the Blogosphere.

Every year, I have the opportunity to attend training for Building Science professionals affectionately known as Summer Camp. Ok, we call it camp, but really, there are no tents or campfires songs, or even horseback riding.  Actually, it’s officially called the Thirteenth Annual Westford Symposium on Building Science, sponsored by Building Science Corporation.) Not only is it a great opportunity to learn about the latest and greatest  Building Science trends but for me, the most beneficial part of  ‘Camp’ is the informal meeting of the minds to share current challenges and generate new ideas, solutions and debate about best practices. The attendees include architects, engineers, physicists, designers, builders, material scientists, manufacturers and other building professionals.

 There has been significant growth in the attendance at “Camp” over the years due to increased focus on the building envelope, energy efficiency, moisture management and sustainability.

I was particularly interested in the information presented by Andreas Holm and Hartwig Kuenzel from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany.  The interest in building science actually began with the introduction of insulation into buildings in Europe in the early 20th century and led to the establishment of the Institute for Building Physics at the Fraunhofer Institute. Historically, Europe and Canada are well ahead of the US with regard to Building Science.

 Among their topics was the discussion of how whole building performance changes with respect to moisture when adding thermal insulation. Adding insulation reduces the amount of heat that flows through an assembly. While this improves energy efficiency and thermal comfort, it also reduces the amount of energy available to dry assemblies and can cause colder surfaces to accumulate more moisture over time. The Institute is looking at ways to improve the moisture management performance of buildings that have become very energy efficient.

They also talked about indoor climate control and energy concepts for schools. Making buildings more air tight may require indoor humidity control through fresh air ventilation.

If you have participated in one of these, or have some thoughts on building science topics of interest, let me know.  I’m glad to be one of CertainTeed’s “Blog-gurus” and look forward to talking with you on occasion.

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