Celebrating Successful Building

January 01, 2005
Special Issue 2005
A version of this article appears in the Special Issue 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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This special issue of Home Energy brings together five building blocks in the home performance field: Home Energy, Affordable Comfort, Building Performance Institute (BPI), the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), and the Energy and Environmental Building Association (EEBA).

What do we have in common? We share a common vision—that all houses should be built, renovated, or repaired using the principles of building science. And we all want to make the world a better place by helping others to build and live in comfortable, healthy, affordable, energy-efficient housing.

Affordable Comfort and EEBA work toward this goal by hosting extremely educational conferences that feature the top experts in the field (see “It’s Not the Gadget. It’s the Knowledge.” p. 28 and “Moisture Management for Roofs,” p. 62). BPI sets standards for, as well as certifies, the contractors and companies working in the field to improve and repair homes (see “Moving Forward with Building Performance,” p. 6). RESNET similarly qualifies and certifies home energy raters (see “Setting the Standard for Quality,” p. 14). Home Energy magazine fulfills its mission by bridging the gap between folks out in the field and the latest developments in technology, test procedures, and energy efficiency programs. This special issue continues this tradition, with articles on rating, certification, and programs, as well as advice on technical approaches to increasing home performance.

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field,” Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize winning physicist, once said. Our challenge when designing, building, remodeling, and maintaining homes is to become experts without making the mistakes. Home Energy and the other contributors to this special edition are here to help you do exactly that. We give you access to the people who have made the mistakes, so you don’t have to; the people who have taken innovations and proven them, so you don’t have to; and the people who are willing to share their experiences, knowledge, and yes, even mistakes, to help all of us make better homes.

As we move into the 21st century, the definition of a better home is morphing, in some circles, into a greenbuilt home. Many of the concerns of green building are issues that Home Energy, and the other four organizations involved in this issue, have trumpeted for years, such as indoor air quality or sustainability.We celebrate the growing understanding that the foundation of green building is building science. For, after all, what good does it do to specify sustainably harvested wood, if that wood becomes moldy within a few years due to moisture buildup in a home? Similarly, how much benefit will accrue from slapping a PV system on a house that has a poorly sized and poorly charged air conditioner? Just as a well-built house needs to start on a solid foundation or a well-sealed crawlspace, green building needs to be grounded in the lessons learned from decades of building science research. And that’s just what you’ll find in the pages of this special issue—all the latest and greatest building science news. Enjoy!

Iain Walker
Executive Editor

Mary James

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