Low U-value is not enough!
Every building is an interactive system ...
Understanding building science and its principles
In their simplest form, buildings are air boxes that provide protection against the outside environment. yet in reality, they form a complex network of building materials and interconnected systems, all carefully interrelated with one another. If any part of a building is changed, it can affect other areas. Each product used in the construction of a building must be able to work in harmony with the other elements that comprise it.
A balanced construction system is like a chain of elements (links) assembled to optimise energy consumption. If one of these elements is defective, then it can be enough to break the balance. For instance, poor air tightness may cancel out the benefits of quality insulation and oversized heating equipment will not necessarily help create a more efficient or “better” building system.
This interdependence is the basis of a “systems approach” used in Canada since the 1970s. The ‘systems approach’ is a method of design, construction, inspection and testing that takes into account the interactions of the various elements of a building such as foundations, walls, roof, windows, insulation and mechanical systems. It also takes into account the location of the construction site, climate, and behavior of residents. If these interactions are not taken into account, nature will take over and problems arise.
The ‘systems approach’, together with the use of new building materials, allows architects and builders to create healthy liveable homes that are resistant to problems such as mould growth. Through this approach, buyers can make a better investment and be able to achieve their long-term goals, architects will see their design creations come to fruition, the risk of hidden defects will be reduced and most importantly, the health of the occupants will be improved.