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Essential Building Science (PDF)
Understanding Energy and Moisture in High Performance House Design
Poor heat and moisture management are the enemies of durable, comfortable, and efficient housing, and good building design and construction starts with a solid understanding of good building science.
Essential Building Science provides a highly visual and accessible introduction to the fundamentals of building science for residential construction.
Part one covers the rationale behind high-performance design and the fundamentals of building physics, including thermal dynamics, moisture transfer, and hygro-thermal dynamics such as vapor drive and condensation.
Part two teaches the vital critical thinking skills needed to consider buildings as whole systems and to develop thermal and moisture control strategies regardless of the specifics of the design. Case studies and examples from across North American climatic zones illuminate real-life problems and offer builders, designers, and DIYers the insights and tools required for creating better new buildings and dramatically improving old ones.
Good science plus critical thinking equals high performance buildings.
Jacob Deva Racusin is a sustainable and natural building designer, builder and educator. He is co-author of The Natural Building Companion, contributor to The Art of Natural Building and Systems Director and Co-Owner of New Frameworks Natural Design/Build, focusing on mechanical, water, energy, and enclosure system design and quality control. He is also a Building Performance Institute-certified Envelope Professional and Building Analyst. Jacob is the program director of the Building Science and Net Zero Design Certificate Program at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and has taught natural building and building science at various universities and building schools. He and his family live in a 2000 sq ft high-performance, natural home in the mountains of northern Vermont, where they run a small-scale Permaculture-inspired homestead.
"Where the heck was Jacob Deva Racusin 40 years ago when I started my career? You could have saved me, and thousands of others, a whole lot of expense and trouble if you had troubled yourself to be born a few decades earlier, and gotten this wonderful gem out to us all a bit sooner. That grouse aside, you have done a masterful - and delightful - job of presenting the complexities of building physics in a way that anyone can understand and use to their benefit. If you want to build well, folks, read this."
Bruce King, Structural Engineer and author, New Carbon Architecture
"This is the book that builders, designer and homeowners have been waiting for... even if they don't know it! In the coming years, understanding building science principles will be considered as important as drafting skills and driving nails. Jacob Racusin explains everything you need to know in a concise, direct and meaningful way. Anybody who reads this book will immediately start to make better buildings."
Chris Magwood, Co-founder and co-director,The Endeavour Centre, and author, Making Better Buildings
"Jacob Deva Racusin has provided as clear and concise a summary of building science for residential building as I can imagine. This volume is an invaluable introduction, teaching tool and resource for homeowners, educators and builders. I hope there will be a dog-eared hard copy or an oft-accessed e-version of Essential Building Science on every residential building (or renovation) site in North America."
Tim Krahn, P. Eng.
"Getting the building science right in a house - so your home is healthy, durable and energy efficient - can be a daunting and complex process, but Jacob has distilled this down to principles that are easy to understand. Racusin provides clear guidance for putting these principles into action, including details of building assemblies that work. The contents of this guide are essential for builders and architects, as well as for future homeowners to know what to look for and what to ask for in good design."
Andrew M Shapiro, Energy Balance, Inc.
"Too many of us are suffocating in a stew of mold and toxic chemicals as our buildings disintegrate around us. In this essential book, Jacob Deva Racusin distills the basic tools builders and homeowners need to make efficient homes that start out light on the planet and last a good long time."
Tristan Roberts, Executive Editor, BuildingGreen.com
A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity - Revised 2nd Edition
Complete Step-by-Step Construction, Maintenance and Troubleshooting
Earth, Lime and Gypsum Plasters for Natural Homes
Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House
How Your Home May be Harming Your Family's Health