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climates

Very Cold - A very cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 9,000 heating degree days or greater (65°F basis) or greater and less than 12,600 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Cold - A cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 9,000 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Mixed-Humid - A mixed-humid and warm-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Hot-Humid - A hot-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year. This definition characterizes a region that is similar to the ASHRAE definition of hot-humid climates where one or both of the following occur:

  • a 67°F r higher wet bulb temperature for 3,000 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year; or
  • a 73°F or higher wet bulb temperature for 1,500 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year.

Hot-Dry/Mixed-Dry - A hot-dry climate is defined as region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis)or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year.

A warm-dry and mixed-dry climate is defined as a region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Marine - A marine climate meets is defined as a region where all of the following occur:

  • a mean temperature of the coldest month between 27°F and 65°F;
  • a mean temperature of the warmest month below 72°F;
  • at least four months with mean temperatures over 50°F; and
  • a dry season in the summer, the month with the heaviest precipitation in the cold season has at least three times as much precipitation as the month with the least precipitation.

information

Building Science Insights are short discussions on a particular topic of general interest. They are intended to highlight one or more building science principles. The discussion is informal and sometimes irreverent but never irrelevant.

Building Science Digests provide building professionals from different disciplinary backgrounds with concise overview of important building science topics. Digests explain the theory behind each topic and then translate this theory into practical information.

Published Articles aare a selected set of articles written by BSC personnel and published in professional and trade magazines that address building science topics. For example, our work has appeared in Fine Homebuilding, Home Energy, ASHRAE's High Performance Buildings, The Journal of Building Enclosure Design and The Journal of Building Physics. We thank these publications for their gracious permission to republish.

Conference Papers are peer-reviewed papers published in conference proceedings.

Research Reports are technical reports written for researchers but accessible to design professionals and builders. These reports typically provide an in-depth study of a particular topic or describe the results of a research project. They are often peer reviewed and also provide support for advice given in our Building Science Digests.

Building America Reports are technical reports funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building America research program.

Designs That Work are residential Case Studies and House Plans developed by BSC to be appropriate for residential construction in specific climate zones. Case Studies provide a summary of results for homes built in partnership with BSC’s Building America team. The case study typically includes enclosure and mechanical details, testing performed, builder profile, and unique project highlights. House Plans are fully integrated construction drawing sets that include floor plans, framing plans and wall framing elevations, exterior elevations, building and wall sections, and mechanical and electrical plans.

Enclosures That Work are Building Profiles and High R-Value Assemblies developed by BSC to be appropriate for residential construction in specific climate zones. Building Profiles are residential building cross sections that include enclosure and mechanical design recommendations. Most profiles also include field expertise notes, material compatibility analysis, and climate challenges. High R-Value Assemblies are summaries of the results of BSC's ongoing High R-Value Enclosure research — a study that BSC has undertaken for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building America research program to identify and evaluate residential assemblies that cost-effectively provide 50 percent improvement in thermal resistance.

Guides and Manuals are "how-to" documents, giving advice and instructions on specific building techniques and methods. Longer guides and manuals include background information to help facilitate a strong understanding of the building science behind the hands-on advice. This section also contains two quick, easy-to-read series. The IRC FAQ series answers common questions about the building science approach to specific building tasks (for example, insulating a basement). The READ THIS: Before... series offers guidelines and recommendations for everyday situations such as moving into a new home or deciding to renovate.

Information Sheets are short, descriptive overviews of basic building science topics and are useful both as an introduction to building science and as a handy reference that can be easily printed for use in the field, in a design meeting, or at the building permit counter. Through illustrations, photographs, and straightforward explanations, each Information Sheet covers the essential aspects of a single topic. Common, avoidable mistakes are also examined in the What's Wrong with this Project? and What's Wrong with this Practice? mini-series.

Designs that Work

It shouldn't be a surprise that energy would be a hit in Texas—but 8,000 people on the first weekend to tour a home that uses less than half that of a standard new home, and makes the rest itself?...
Mixed-Humid
Designs that Work

The design of the Concord Cape began in August of 2008. Architects and engineers at BSC developed the drawing set and specifications for the high performance custom home to be built in Concord,...
Cold
Designs that Work

BSC collaborated with Greencraft Builders, LLC in Colleyville, TX on a 2009 prototype house called the Colleyville House. This house demonstrates the energy efficiency and durability upgrades that...
Mixed-Humid
Designs that Work

You may have heard of ultra low energy buildings*—energy self-sufficient, solar-powered structures; buildings without utilty bills, or well on their way to that end. But you look at your own utility...
Mixed-Humid
Designs that Work

Typical homes have no way of providing outdoor air in a controlled manner aside from relying on the construction of leaky homes and the whims of the weather (wind and temperature differences). Leaky...
Cold
Designs that Work

The Cleveland, OH house is an 1,800 square foot, two-story single-family house with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a loft and a 1,056 square foot basement located in Cleveland, OH (Cold...
Cold
Designs that Work

A premise of the Building America program is that high performance homes must be sustainable both environmentally and economically. EcoVillage Cleveland takes this premise to a new level. From...
Cold
Designs that Work

The Cleveland Prototype Housing designs will demonstrate sustainable building practices by integrating a number of strategies into one very sensible design solution: using recycled, low-polluting...
Cold
Designs that Work

The Carbondale, CO house is an 1,190 square foot, one-and-a-half story single-family house with three bedrooms, two baths, and a 330 square foot crawlspace located in Carbondale, CO (Cold Climate)....
Very Cold
Designs that Work

The owners of this single family Victorian had previously gone through a retrofit in the spring of 2009. The upgrades included adding closed-cell spray foam insulation to the underside of the...
Cold
Designs that Work

September 2010 saw the completion of the second project participating in National Grid’s Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) pilot program. This program provides financial incentives and technical support to...
Cold
Designs that Work

In June of 2009, National Grid launched a pilot program intended to demonstrate Deep Energy Retrofits (DER) in existing Massachusetts homes. The pilot program provides financial incentives and...
Cold
Designs that Work

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell (HfHGL) has partnered with Building Science Corporation (BSC) on previous new construction projects. This working relationship continued with HfHGL’s...
Cold
Designs that Work

Fairburn – the first energy-efficient, healthy, affordable, community in metro Atlanta. All of the adjectives in this description are important to builder Jay Epstein of Health-E Enterprises. "I...
Mixed-Humid
Designs that Work

Aspen, Colorado has one of the most expensive real estate markets in the United States. The mountains around Aspen provide beautiful views, skiing, and small-town seclusion, but they also limit the...
Very Cold

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