Yes, we know: sometimes it’s difficult to understand the science behind our reports to you, so we will bring you six articles over the next weeks, designed to help you better understand what’s going on with your health, and indoor air quality, your energy costs, and the life of your building—your home or investment.

Join us and read the first article here:

How Everything is Connected, Or Why Mold is Just Part of the Problem

1) Everything is Connected. Building Science service generally begins with an examination the integration of of a particular structure: its subsystems and infrastructure, in successfully designing and building a high-performance building or in bringing it to an optimal level of performance. This is what we do: we call this an energy audit. Often we are responding to complaints about specific warning signs from your building, such as leaks, mold, and symptoms from performance shortcomings; but similar to medical science, we need to look at the building as a whole, to determine the best course forward.

2) Energy Audits save you money in a big way, in that they provide you with a comprehensive “roadmap” toward a balance of health and efficiency. As Everything is Connected is our overarching mantra at Better Building Works, energy audits help you determine how to best and most efficiently make your building work for you. It’s not just one thing that’s causing that persistent drippy nose, it’s the assembly of issues that cause the havoc. Sure, you may have mold, but do you use a bandaid approach of simply investing in a dehumidifier? By doing an energy audit first, you could recognize that the problem is systemic, coming from leaks, malfunctioning (or lack of) ventilation equipment, or numerous other issues, which, together, are contributors to the generation of mold. Without this knowledge, we simply throw away money on services or equipment that won’t solve the underlying issues. Building science is like solving a mystery: often many “players” can contribute to one problem. We identify and recommend solutions to eliminate the players, comprehensively solve your indoor air quality issues, and often, lower your energy costs, while maximizing your energy efficiency. An energy audit is the first step in solving your mysteries, solves the problem, and saves you money.

3) Indoor Air Quality refers to the quality of the air inside a building or enclosed space, in terms of its cleanliness and healthiness for occupants. A myriad of factors contribute to the the state of your air quality inside your building, including the buildup of pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allergens, the presence of mold and mildew, inadequate ventilation and stale air, smoking, pets, and many more factors. Without adequate ventilation, these contaminants can accumulate and lead to health issues such as respiratory problems, allergies, and fatigue. We assess the culprits, and find the solutions to mitigate your discomfort. These solutions usually solve more than one issue.

4) Diagnostics and Forensics begin with your report of symptoms. Persistent allergic symptoms, drafts, higher energy bills, and other such issues suggest a degree of non-performance in a building, which calls for a closer look. We see the issue, but we look for all associated and underlying causes for the issue, just as a medical professional would do as physical exam of your body before prescribing medication. We recommend solutions for each contributing cause of discomfort, and stick with you throughout your process.

By recognizing that many variables cause issues for a building, just as symptoms affect the way your body works collectively, building science seems more approachable. Stay tuned, as we will continue to address more of the fundamental issues surrounding the practice of building science.

Our next topic will explore Winter and its Effect on Ventilation, with major issues and solutions explained. Thank you for your interest.

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