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The Importance of Building Science in Custom Homes

2020-02-27T11:59:38-06:00February 27th, 2020|Building Science, Custom Homes, Green Homes, Healthier Homes|

Homebuilding has come a long way. Over the course of history, we’ve learned more and more about how to create safer and more comfortable homes. With that knowledge came the implementation of stricter building code requirements, and the use of modern materials. Builders today face more challenges in mastering the craft than builders of the past. 

Building Codes are Getting Stricter

Modern homes must be engineered not only for comfort and health, but also for energy conservation requirements. The International Energy Conservation Code will decide on pending requirements in 2021 that all aim to make new average homes closer to Zero Energy Ready, and code updates are expected to become even stricter from that point forward. Homes of the near future are projected to use so little power that solar panels (with battery storage), may be able to satisfy much of the annual power needs. 

Homeowners Have Concerns About Stricter Codes

One of the concerns homeowners have about the stricter code is the requirement for air sealing. Many visualize their home as an air-tight trap with stale air that can cause air quality issues. While air sealing and insulation of a home can pose potential problems, a knowledgeable and skilled builder can minimize these risks. 

Builders Trained in Building Science Can Help

What is building science exactly? Building science is the application of physics, material science, thermodynamics, mechanical engineering, and construction management, all with a focus on controlling moisture and heat. Most importantly, building science applies to the particular climate zone in the part of the country where the residential construction is taking place.

Because buildings use a lot of energy, buildings have a significant impact on the environment and economy. Heating and cooling is the major energy expenditure in residential buildings. Meanwhile, moisture has a critical impact on the longevity of building materials, and on our health. Knowledge in building science can help one understand the connection between moisture and heat and comfort in a home’s system.

The most knowledgeable builders and architects approach the house as an interdependent system where multiple aspects of the home must work together to properly handle how air, heat, and moisture flow through a building. They understand how walls, windows, roofs, and mechanical equipment work with air sealing and insulation. They also understand best practices for minimizing weather-related intrusion into the structure.

Building science is important to keeping your home both healthy and up to code.

The Risk of Building without Building Science

Knowing what we know now about buildings, we can’t ignore what the science tells us. The science guides the building codes, and when uneducated but well-meaning builders (or clients) implement those increasingly more rigid codes, it can lead to some unintended negative consequences.

What Trained Builders Should Know

Builders educated on the new code know that the walls don’t need to breathe but you do. What’s actually needed is the ability to get fresh air ventilated into the home, and for walls to be able to dry out when they get wet. 

They also know that the climate you live in effects what will and won’t work in a home. If you’re seeking out a local builder, they should know what works best in your local climate.

Choosing a Builder with Building Science Knowledge

R.E.A. Homes builds and renovates custom luxury homes in the St. Louis area with building science in mind. Our hand-crafted High Performance Luxury Homes℠ are ENERGY STAR certified and use best building practices, modern design, and smart technology.

Learn more about how R.E.A. Homes can craft a custom home that’s not only luxurious but also uses proper building science to make it healthier and more comfortable. Contact Jeff Bogard today at jeff@reahomesllc.com or 314-400-2119 for a consultation.

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