I get asked this quite a bit: when should I involve a building performance consultant in the architectural design process? The answer is: the moment design involves building performance— Efficiency
Getting new buildings to work right is easy compared to understanding and then changing existing buildings, especially ones you know are not working right. I have a system for assessing old buildings and then use building science principles to make sure that what we do to them makes them work better, not worse.
What sort of projects do I get called in to do assess or investigate?
- A homeowner has battled mold in downstairs closets for years. Various inspectors and contractors have taken a crack at the problem but never really cracked the nut. One of them eventually recommended giving me a call, and I cracked it; click here to learn how: “Pete’s Puzzle: Mold in Certain Closets.”
- A library built in 1910 has a front entrance pair of spiral staircases with relatively new paint sloughing off. Tracking moisture in historic mass walls is tricky and the Advisory Board ended up calling me to work through the plans, the energy retrofit, and a history of roof leaks and moisture in the basement.
- A high-end timberframe builder struggles with condensation and mold problems even as they strenuously air seal where the timbers move from inside to outside the building. This builder is close enough for me to visit and assess a couple of recent projects as well as train his team in building science.
- A builder in the mid-Atlantic tackles an attached indoor pool for the first time. He really wants to make sure his assemblies and mechanical systems work for high humidity conditions. We work remotely using screenshare meetings to go over details of construction.
- An elderly couple builds a new home to accommodate one of them with chemical sensitivities, zoning the home’s HVAC in such a way that she has a safe haven. But the separation between these spaces is not working. This project was about fully understanding the building enclosure AND the mechanical systems.
- A couple looking to buy an existing home comes to one of my “How (Older) Homes Work events (see https://www.meetup.com/Western-Mass-Green-Consortium-WMGC/events/257588187/ and http://oakhillpto.org/?p=30031 ). I work with them to assess homes they are considering and they pick a home with better moisture management built in.
How can I help you better understand your building? Contact me.
– Jason Cooper Management
– Sheldon Pennoyer
– Ann Edminster
“There are very few US building professionals who understand real, on-the-ground, residential building science the way Peter does. He’s at the top of my go-to list even though he’s 3,000 miles away, because he knows construction and knows how to effectively address different regional climates and building practices. If you’ve got a problem, he’ll solve it. If you want to make sure you don’t create a problem in retrofitting or new construction, he’ll steer you clear.”
Published Blog Arcitles:
COVID-19 & Curriculum Development For several years, our local Sustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON) has been developing a High Performance Building Associate certificate program (http://www.seon.info/hpb-overview/ ). In early March 2020,
Beauty goes more than skin-deep for high performance buildings. I work with architects and builders to achieve designs and materials that result in buildings tuned to their climate and site, successfully managing the elements for durable enclosures, comfortable and safe interiors. Click here to learn more.
Getting new buildings to work right is easy compared to understanding and then changing existing buildings, especially ones you know are not working right. I have a system for assessing old buildings, then using building science to make sure that what we do to them makes them work better, not worse. Click here to learn more.
Since completing my Master’s Thesis in 1993, a big part of my life has been technical writing related to building performance. From blogs to investigation summaries, from building product installation manuals to multi-year government project reports, I have honed my writing to be clear, concise, accurate. Click here to learn more.
I have developed curriculum for and taught building performance to high school trade students, graduate students in architecture and environmental management, and every type of building professionals you can imagine: engineers, architects, construction managers, code officials, trade contractors, and even a few bankers along the way. I tailor my materials to the length of the course and keep engagement high no matter who the participants are. Click here to learn more.
Most testing done in the building industry is done in labs under carefully prescribed and controlled environments, having NOTHING to do with what takes place in the real world. I work with building industry professionals and product manufacturers to develop field service life prediction testing under jobsite conditions. It’s testing where the rubber hits the road. Click here to learn more.