When it comes to fulfilling building requirements, building physics is often the first thing on the list of considerations. It is a science that has been recognized and used for over one hundred years. However, despite its recognition it is often overlooked by building contractors and engineers because of a lack of specific requirements for building operations. That means there are gaps in understanding and implementation leaving many building occupants exposed to injuries due to faulty calculations and unrealistic predictions of thermal resistance.
The field of building physics should be incorporated into building design from the start of the building project in order to properly accommodate thermal design, as well as all the other building envelope aspects. Thermal energy building physics is really a branch of mathematics called thermodynamics, which deals with the entire temperature distribution of a fluid. In order to develop a complete picture of the temperature changes throughout a system, we must be able to model it using the appropriate equations. This is not as simple as it sounds because the real world has a lot of inherent factors which greatly influence the overall temperature of a space. Many of these natural constraints can be addressed with solutions that only come from applied mathematics and include things like viscosity, which involve the presence of minute pores in materials, and tensile strengths which determine the amount of stress a material can withstand.
Thermal energy building physics can be used to determine many of the building’s critical requirements including HVAC requirements, electrical requirements, and thermal insulation requirements. There are numerous ways to make these measurements more precise than they would be naturally using a cold or hot building volume and an accurate understanding of the relationship between materials and temperatures is essential to building operations. There are numerous methods that can be utilized to take these measurements. One such method involves taking the attic ventilation, attic heating and air conditioning systems out of consideration in order to calculate the amount of heat loss through the spaces. Another method involves using the differences between outdoor temperatures and indoor temperatures during various seasons and months of the year to determine the amount of radiant heat entering a space.
Natural phenomena such as wind and precipitation play a large role in determining the structure’s efficiency. These physical forces have an enormous impact on the amount of usable surface area available to a building as well as its overall efficiency. Changes in weather patterns caused by either internal or external sources can have a significant effect on the design of the building. Understanding the relationships between wind, rain, snow, snowing, dew, and general temperature patterns can help improve the building’s efficiency and performance. Changes in the composition of the building can alter its thermal conductivity, insulation, and resistance to mold and mildew.
Many buildings require careful consideration of what is happening beneath them. Moisture, humidity, and temperature changes can all have a significant impact on building operations. Understanding the relationship between these natural phenomena and their effect on structures can help engineers and construction managers determine whether or not to install equipment intended to control temperature and moisture levels in buildings. Understanding the relationship between structural failures and water infiltration can play a vital role in making buildings even more energy efficient.
A building’s thermal mass is the total mass of heat that a structure can effectively transfer to the environment. The greater the building’s thermal mass, the more effectively it can transfer heat into the environment. Thermal performance can be improved through careful design and the incorporation of appropriate materials. If thermal quality is consistently poor, the building will use more energy than necessary to transfer heat to and from the environment. This can result in higher electricity bills and increased maintenance costs. Improving building thermal quality will allow buildings to utilize the maximum energy efficiency possible while still keeping maintenance costs and electricity costs low.
There are many other requirements for building physics that are equally important to maintaining buildings’ energy efficiency. The precise conditions of a building’s materials, air, and surface are essential to building operations. These conditions affect the building’s thermal, mechanical, and insulation properties. Ensuring that these properties are in compliance with local building codes ensures the building will continue to meet building requirements and provide safe construction and operation.
Compliance with building requirements for building physics is crucial to building operations and maintenance. It is important to make building information a part of every building project from its inception until it is completely finished. Every building owner should take a few minutes to look into the building’s requirements for building physics before construction begins. Doing this helps ensure every building project is successful and will provide the most energy efficient building possible. Every building owner must do their part to ensure building requirements for building physics are met.