Building science is a discipline that focuses on the analysis and control of physical phenomena affecting buildings and architecture, such as building materials, building envelope, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, natural and electrical lighting, acoustic, indoor air quality, passive strategies, fire protection, and renewable energies in buildings.
Buildworks utilizes building science knowledge—along with the expert architects and designers we chose to work with—to construct building enclosures and interior spaces that are comfortable, healthy, efficient and durable as well as aesthetically pleasing. Although working on a custom new home offers the ultimate opportunity to apply the best of modern building science, even a small remodeling project like a new kitchen or bathroom can benefit from our knowledge and expertise.
Many clients question what constitutes a green building. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Confounding the homeowner’s attempt to “go green,” there are many questionable products and services in the marketplace. Buildworks’ team has been deeply involved with the green building movement for over 10 years, so we can help you make educated decisions by taking a very practical approach to what is most cost effective, efficient and sustainable for our climate and environment in the Austin area.
We break down the green building process as follows:
This is all about conserving your use of electricity and gas. Start with your architect’s home placement on the site to take into consideration orientation to the sun and plan windows, overhangs, covered patios and shade trees to take advantage of the sun’s heat in the winter and shading in the summer. In addition to this you want energy efficient products that, when combined with the building envelope design, create the most energy efficient package for your money. Sometimes you have to spend a little more to save a lot over time. But you need to understand the true payback before making these decisions.
Conserving water takes place both indoors and outside. The use of water conserving plumbing fixtures, rainwater collection, drought tolerant sod and landscaping and smart sprinkler systems minimizes water usage and utility bills. These are easy solutions to implement, if you know they are available.
Constructing the building envelope to reduce air infiltration, properly installing insulation, controlling indoor humidity and installing quality doors and windows is essential to indoor comfort and energy efficiency. The use of low-VOC emitting construction materials, proper ventilation, vapor barriers and humidity controls will improve your indoor air quality.
Some modern materials that are renewable, recycled or resource efficient are exceptional; however, often more durable and structurally stronger materials should be preferred. Maintenance, energy efficiency, material volume and waste, and longevity other should be considered as well when selecting building materials and products. We can help you make smart choices that you will be happy to live with.
Trees can significantly reduce the amount of energy expended to cool a home in Austin’s summer heat. Appropriate landscaping can protect your home by channeling cooling breezes and providing shade. Using easy-care, low-water native plants, you can cut your maintenance labor and water use. And of course, with a rainwater harvesting system, you can water the landscape with your captured rainwater.