Building Enclosure Consulting

Facade Doctor

Building Enclosures’ Challenges Unique to Airports

Question I hear quite often: What kind of architecture do you do?  Building enclosures are fairly similar in all buildings, so my response often confuses and disappoints an interviewer, who expects an answer running along the divisions of residential, public, commercial, healthcare, etc.

However, upon reflection, building enclosures are not really similar in all buildings. Take airports for example; there are some challenges that are unique to airports. Large glazing ratios? Nope. They are common in other buildings as well, and not as spectacularly in defiance of the function of a building, as for example in a museum. Leaky roofs? Nope. They are also common to all projects in the U.S. except for the very few well designed roofs.  So, what is unique to airports? Here are two unique aspects:

1) Air tightness.

Can you recognize the sweet odor of  jet exhaust fumes? Suffocating, isn’t it? Air tightness is a common challenge at airports. Airports resemble Swiss cheese. The building is just a package for installations. The largest, most important, and awkward installation at any airport is luggage conveyors. Remember the time you were in such a hurry, that you checked your luggage at the curbside? It was sucked by the luggage conveyor into the building’s intestines together with exhaust fumes of your cab that was idling nearby, while the driver counted the change. Their serpentines penetrate the exterior building enclosure and interior mechanical zones with very large openings, which let air in and out, leading to energy losses and sucking contaminants and bugs in.

Another challenging area is the gates. Remember the feeling when you were late at the gate, and sadly looked at that closed door to the jet way? This door was the only door that was closed, and was only designed to stop passengers, not air. Regardless how the jet ways are configured, they all share one common characteristic: they are conveniently left open to the exterior by their designers and staff, even in defiance of security requirements. Remember when you were waiting in the long line in the jet way, and looked outside at the exterior stairs leading to the ramp open, where bunch of people in bright safety vest were struggling carrying strollers and gate-checked bags when overhead bins were full? Were you looking through an open side door? Well, this door was kept open by a door chock, which was placed there illegally by the ramp personnel, wasn’t it?

I will tell you a secret: next time you are looking for receptacle to plug your chargers in, just look behind the gate kiosk and sit down on the carpet nearby. Few people have a nerve to plug their laptop in the territory of the gate agent. However, the feeling you may notice instead of the adrenaline shot is the thermal discomfort. This is why the gate agent has her shawl and gloves handy, not just because she ventures through the jet way every once in a while. You may have enough time to look at the gate portal closely: can you see the moisture stains or a fresh paint? Align your eye along some straight line: do you see bowing? These are signs of moisture damage.

The reason is the interior door and the surrounding interior portal are, well, interior. They are not designed as exterior doors and portals should be. However, the average jet way is seldom the same mechanical zone as the building to which it is connected. It may be open to the exterior, air conditioned, or only heated. Often it’s left open to the exterior as described above, and therefore the interior gate portals become de facto exterior envelope. Which is why they sometimes show moisture damage caused by elevated humidity levels and condensation attacking the partition separating two different mechanical zones.

What gets tested gets done. Airports are seldom checked for air leakage, because they are typically interconnected with bridges, underpasses, and overpasses to other buildings, which would need to be plugged by temporary walls. Also, unless their own mechanical fans could be used for pressure testing, their volume exceeds the capacity of even the largest door blowers. Besides, by the time a contractor is done with the building enclosure, the airport is already long in operation.  Getting to the airside is a pain, due to security concerns, and coordinating aerial access even a larger challenge, so it’s only accessed once something conspicuously fails and needs to be fixed right away. After the cleanup, contractors collected their paychecks, management transition has already occurred, no one would endeavor to interrupt operations to conduct air testing. No one would even stick their nose outside. Which is why years later I would still discover unsealed joints and other construction defects, together with plywood sheets and buckets patiently waiting for a wind gust strong enough to be blown away and hit some aircraft or a ramp worker.

Add the inherent challenges of managing air changes at ports of entry due to the door traffic, and you can imagine how high the energy bills run. Imagine yourself getting a monthly utility bill much higher than your neighbor, whose house is smaller, older, and built with less insulation and less efficient HVAC system. You would probably investigate the reason, wouldn’t you?  It seldom happens in case of large buildings.  I often go to investigate such buildings and interview occupants, who are oblivious to spectacular water leaks, in spite of having worked there for years. No, they were not legally blind, only disinterested. Large buildings are often populated by disinterested occupants who feel disenfranchised from any ownership, and this attitude may be found surprisingly high in their management hierarchy.  Energy bills can be eventually passed onto and covered by somebody else, e.g. airlines and taxpayers, which is why nobody really cares.

2)  Noise Resistance.

Remember the last time you couldn’t figure out the gate change announcement? What is the new gate number? It was drowned in noise, wasn’t it? Were you able to finish a conversation, until this freaking airplane turned its engines off?  Insufficient noise resistance is a common challenge at airports, and is associated with high exterior noise levels generated by aircraft. My cheap aviation headset gives me 40dB noise attenuation, and this is more than the newly designed U.S. airport skin offers to its workers and passengers.

The typical airport is over glazed; glazing is expensive to begin with, and even more expensive to make soundproof. Perversely, this is good news, because it receives enough attention to be actually engineered and sometimes even tested. On the other side, all opaque walls are much cheaper and easier to make soundproof, and in most cases they would just need to be made heavy enough.  The old trick used by facade engineers in Europe is to add layers of cement board. That seldom happens in the U.S. Why? I get a blank look in response, when I flag it in the design stage. Architects in the U.S. for the last ten or so years finally learned how to tell heat bridging; however, they yet have to catch up with the rest of the world on the noise bridging and other aspects of building performance. It’s not something they are taught at college here.

Have you ever tried yodeling in an airport? Try it, when you are left in an empty airport after hours, like I sometimes am. The interiors spaces are huge and their significant volume exacerbates reverberation times. They could be designed for sound attenuation by choice of interior materials, but again they seldom are. The choice is typically left between materials within reach that are easy to maintain (hard, smooth surfaces almost invariably characterized by poor acoustic performance), and a painted gypsum board everywhere else. Have you noticed there is a carpet everywhere at many airports in the U.S.? You can test it with a cup of a decaf coffee, which is dyed with strong dark paint to resemble the actual coffee. Many carpets won’t survive such a test. Why would airports install something that is such a pain to maintain? And why airports abroad are not so often carpeted, with flooring surfaces ranging from stone to wood? I can only think of three reasons. Carpets become necessary, because of the poorer overall acoustical building performance, and because checked luggage allowance in the U.S. is so large that it’s typically rolled on a floor as opposed to carried in hand or over the shoulder like everywhere else. Rolling casters are noisy on hard surfaces, while rolling them on a carpet only causes fatigue. Also, have you ever slipped and fell on the hard surfaced floor? (The opening scene of my slip and fall in our commercial was filmed at the airport in Tampa after hours. And yes, I do all my stunts.). America is a highly litigious environment, which may explain the added cost of maintenance.

So, how do I respond to the question posed at the beginning ? My most typical response is that I only do high-rises, which is not true, but works well to fend off any looming requests to diagnose a pool or roof leak in a residential house of the asker.

This post was written by Kaz

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Upcoming Events

I will be speaking at:

BEC Cleveland  on December 7th

and AIA Columbus  on December 9th

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

 

This post was written by Kaz

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R value, U value, Resistance, Transmittance, Transmissivity, Conductivity, Conductance, etc.

It’s  very rare to find accurate information on Internet, so I am very happy to announce my recent  finding of this article about thermal resistance: it’s titled “K-Value, U-Value, R-Value, C-Value, Understanding the Value in All These Values,”and written by Gordon H. Hart P.E. 

Those of you who attended my Thermal Engineering Seminar may remember how much fuss I make about getting it right.

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Kaz’s Seminars on Amazon.com

This morning I received an email from Amazon, officially informing me that a $0.99 payment  was posted to our account. That’s not much money, because Amazon does not allow a seller of a video to set its price (I am not kidding, I discovered it only after we set it up).

However, this email reminded me about our DVDs on Amazon.com. We were never able to set up a working Video on Demand (VOD) system, and I never had the time to pull these videos from Amazon after I discovered how they screw up a seller.

Therefore, going to Amazon.com  is your best bet if you want to see videos online, and the deal Amazon offers to viewers is hard to beat.

We still sell DVDs directly, if you can wait couple of days for a physical delivery.

This post was written by Kaz

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Sample Reports

Although not all our work results are documented in writing, reports generally give a good example of what we do:

All identifying information was blacked out.

This post was written by Kaz

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Visual Light Transmittance (VLT) Testing for Turtle Codes in Florida

turtle codes VLT testing

turtle codes VLT testing

Artificial lighting leads young sea turtles away from water, resulting in their demise. Therefore, many jurisdictions in Florida have adopted a Turtle Nesting Protection Ordinance. The intention of this ordinance is to protect sea turtles and other nocturnal animals along the coastline during the nesting season by reducing light pollution. One of the associated requirements is use of a dark vision glass.

How do you know whether your vision glazing is dark enough? You need to test it.

Building Enclosure Consulting, LLC is an independent diagnostic shop, which specializes in  architectural glazing of building facades. We conduct bench and field testing, as well as computer simulations.

We provide field-testing services of beachfront glazing in order to determine the Visual Light Transmittance (VLT 45) as required by Sea Turtle Protection Ordinances. The code requires all glazing facing beaches to be dark enough to avoid wildlife confusion. In practice, the typical old glazing would not meet the requirement, and require darkening. This can be accomplished by many different methods, including installation of permanent insect screens, meshes, nets, storm windows, or replacing the glass. Laminate films are generally not recommended due to deleterious effect they may have on the existing glazing, and their use would typically void the original glass warranty.

This post was written by Kaz

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Energy Monitoring

 

 

 

 

ac pulse

This is the power measurement taken from a 3 ton central AC condenser in South Florida for one day. It’s a nice snapshot of an AC pulse, expressed in electrical current per time.

For mathematically challenged: after multiplying the number of amperes showed on the vertical axis by ~230 volts (not shown here), we arrive to approximately 3,200 Watts of power. This is equivalent of  320 led bulbs rated at 10W (equivalent of old incandescent 100W light bulbs). For comparison, there are 16 bulbs used to lit my house.

So, in other words, every time this unit goes off, we could just brightly lit 20 houses with the power used by this air conditioner, not counting the interior air handler which adds approximately 3 brightly lit houses.

If you read my recent post on HVAC zoning, you may now get the big picture: this single wall thermostat is not just turning a whole house on. It is akin to turning lights in 23 houses.

It’s responsible for ~1/3-1/4 of the total energy use in an old house with  uninsulated walls and windows, which in this particular case translates into approximately $700 a year.

It is also a good signature for health diagnosis of the system. Aging compressor? Inadequate refrigerant charge? It can be read between the lines.

How can you measure it? All it takes is a current transducer and a datalogger.  I am still paying off the loans which I took to purchase the professional equipment, but you can do it for much less. As I am slowly learning programming microprocessors, I discovered how relatively reliable and inexpensive became sensors which we can use for home monitoring: temperature, pressure, humidity, light, current, voltage, movement, smoke, water, CO2, and CO sensors to name a few. Most can be had for approximately $1 if one is patient enough to wait two weeks for them being shipped from China, and occasionally held by customs a little longer. These are good quality brands such as Bosch, and they can be installed redundant to reduce risk of defective ones.  Many come bundled, such as the temperature and humidity sensor I used in my experimental setup to drive a servomechanism of an AC diffuser.

current monitor

current monitor

Most residential dwellings are very similar in their functions, and can be sensorized, pre-wired, and programmed later with several repetitive options, as the total cost of materials would account for less than $100, with copper cables being the most expensive part. Commissioning would become a lifelong experience, all parameters would be continually monitored, and systems fine-tuned to achieve a comfortable and energy efficient configuration. Purchase decisions would become more educated, based on facts and hard data, as opposed to marketing claims.

Imagine, for example, that you live in this building in South Florida built recently and therefore thermally insulated. Your monthly electrical bill is twice your neighbor’s, and there are dark spots of microbial growth on AC registers. What would you do? I know people who spent thousands to get air samples collected and lab tested, and then  spent thousands more to litigate against contractors. Others may spending hundreds on a wireless, voice recognizing, smart thermostat system, or whatever else was marketed as a state of the art panaceum at the time. Unfortunately none of these would bring you closer to solve your existing problems.

However, with the monitoring,  all you would need to do is to have a look at your charts, or to program the software to issue reports of any irregularities and possible improvements. You would perhaps notice that the temperature sensors located in the forced air ducts show the supply air is repetitively below the adjacent ambient Dew Point, perhaps explaining those dark spots on your registers. High temperature readings in the attics may partially explain the irritating energy bill, and high humidity and low pressure readings coming from sensors on your exterior walls would explain the musty odor. What musty odor? You became too acquainted to notice it any more, and your guests are too nice to bring it to your attention.

So, how come every new house does NOT come fully equipped and pre-wired for automation?  Someone smarter must have figured it all out by now? However, if you look at the offering of the marketplace, it’s mostly irrelevant, unreliable, and self-contained. Congratulations, you can control lights in your dining room with a smartphone, and it only takes six or seven clicks, as opposed to simply flipping a wall switch. And you spent several hours with a customer’s support to troubleshoot the system and accomplish this admirable feat!

Houses don’t come pre-wired, and therefore smart home systems are designed and sold as wireless, which makes them fundamentally unreliable. If you live in a single family house like me,  you may not realize how literally crowded is the air. I didn’t, until I used my radio-controlled drone and a WiFi GoPro to remotely inspect exterior walls of a high-rise building. Two-way communication was lost in two floors height, roughly after 20 feet. A Wi-Fi replicator helped, but needed to be dropped on a rope to be approximately half-way between the observer and the device. These are challenges of wireless devices. Trust me, you don’t want to deal with them every day.

How do you wire a house with an existing forced air system? I just read a blog describing an admirable DIY method, which involved sending a parachute up the ductwork. The parachute was sent from the hood of an air handler, and it was made of a plastic shopping bag, pulling a fishing mono-filament, which was then used to pull the required 22 gauge cable for the servo controlling the register and for the psychrometric sensors. Whoever invented it was a genius. We need more of them.

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

HVAC Zoning Considerations

If you live in America, you might have wondered why HVAC in your dwelling isn’t zoned. You can either turn it off or on, based on a single thermostat, in the most typical configuration. This is akin to having only one light  switch to turn lights on or off in the entire house. When compared to lighting, doesn’t it seem stupid and wasteful? Well, indeed it is.  Even if you live in a large house divided in several zones  by several air handlers, each zone would serve ~2,000 square feet give or take.

In fact, it’s even worse, as explained in my description of the energy monitoring. You turn on and off all lights in 20 houses, comparatively speaking. That’s how much more energy a typical air conditioner consumes.

Other continents are doing slightly better, mainly because their inventory of real estate is either older or designed by architects who never heard about forced air systems. There is no space for air ducts. Therefore, they typically install mini-split heat pumps, which individually distribute refrigerant to fancoils serving individual zones. Distribution is achieved by much more manageable 1/4″ and 3/8″ diameter copper tubing and wiring as opposed to insulated air ducts several inches in diameter. These mini splits are as expensive as they are efficient. Comparing the average mini-split to the average central air system popular in the U.S. made me gasp with astonishment, because the current draw was found to be many times lower, and comfort superior.

hvac

Back to America. If you stop by the typical HVAC supplier or a home improvement store and succumb to an overwhelming marketing, you may buy the state of the art learning touchscreen thermostat for several hundred dollars, only to discover that you are still turning the entire house on or off. So much for the promised energy savings.

The preferred solution would divide the dwelling unit into zones, which would be independently heated, cooled, and ventilated. To accomplish that, we would need to start with a system that, to my current knowledge, doesn’t exist on the market. We would begin with the ideal HVAC system described by John Straube, with a separately ducted ventilation, and have individual fancoil units with individually ducted returns.

How about retrofitting existing systems? Good luck with that. There are some interesting grassroots efforts of concerned citizens who discovered there is no commercial solution available, and decided to build one themselves, typically to remediate some extreme thermal discomfort resulting from an existing HVAC configuration.

The typical configuration would involve sensorizing individual zones and automating individual dampers or louvers of registers.

The solution typically involves an I/O board plus  temperature and humidity sensors installed in each zone and controlling servomechanisms modulating register’s louvers in those zones, and a relay board in lieu of the central thermostat. It would need to be driven by a microprocessor, like a dedicated stationary computer or Arduino board. A system like this can be controlled remotely by adding a radio, GSM, or Ethernet interface, with at least one dedicated Android app written and maintained by Mr. Vadim Tkachenko, a software engineer from Phoenix (why are Eastern Europeans so dominant on this scene, in a country of 300 million people, I cannot comprehend).

These systems should include ventilation; fresh air should be individually injected based on readings from individual CO2 sensors. It would also require pressure sensors to dynamically balance the system and for example ask for an air filter replacement. It would also need  dedicated dehumidification or humidification or both. Interesting addition would be energy monitoring using current transformers, which would also allow for early diagnosis of aging motors and compressors.I have not seen independent solutions like that yet, most likely due to the lack of professional involvement: based on my Internet research, home automation is typically attempted by individuals with programming skills and experience in robotics.

I read with interest some of these blogs and decided to try myself, as I am currently building my own house from a scratch.  Below is a picture of an experimental setup of a $5 floor register with a $10 servo and a $10 temperature and RH sensor controlled by a $40 Arduino board. I am learning C++ programming language as we speak, and find it quite challenging…

IMG_1134

 

to be continued…

This post was written by Kaz

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Negative Pressurization in Hot and Humid Climate

This is a two story building with an air handler placed downstairs. This configuration results in negative pressurization of the lower floor in range of 10 Pascals. Unfortunately, this is actually a quite typical condition in hot and humid climate, achieved by combination of factors, such as unbalanced exhaust fans and other HVAC errors and omissions.pascals termites

Why do I write about it? The measurement was made at the entrance door. The frame of this entrance door could be disassembled with bare fingers – all that was left was an intact paint coat supported by fins of wood growth rings. The rest of the wood was eaten away by termites in a couple of years. It’s a result of sucking hot and humid air around the door perimeter into the cooler environment, creating moist conditions perfect for microbial and insect growth. In this case it was termites, which ate away the untreated wood frame components, made of the average poor quality soft wood sold in home improvement stores under the name of fir-spruce-pine.. They left a pressure-treated wooden buck intact, which indicates the need for pressure treatment of all wood components installed in hot and humid climate.

This post was written by Kaz

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Greening Building Envelopes – Canned Seminar on DVD – Coming Soon

Duration: 1/2 hour, although your results may vary.  The educational seminar runs for approx. 1/2 hour running time plus introductions and presentations. The original source seminar consisted of 90 slides.

Comments: Greening Building Envelopes discusses sustainability of building envelopes the way nobody has yet examined the subject before. This is as different from the average bromidic sustainability seminar, as it gets. Kaz will focus on the most overlooked scientific aspects of energy improvements, and show lessons learned pertinent to the hot and humid climate.
Today, the real-estate and construction industry focuses on two new buzzwords: “Green” and “Building Envelope.” The industry also looks for savings, and what can be more economical and greener than prolonging the technical life of the existing structures? We will present several case examples of troubleshooting and preserving value of building envelopes of large buildings, which, often built wrong from the start, are typically the most expensive and most maintenance-demanding part of a building. We will show successes and lessons learned in reducing energy use and addressing persistent failures. We will also address relevant energy regulations pertaining to the existing buildings in Florida.

Audience: Physical plant managers, engineers, perhaps even architects. Hot and humid climate only.

Learning objectives: 1. Often Overlooked Secondary Consequences of Energy Upgrades . 2. Combining Energy Upgrades with Renovations.3. Diagnosis of Building Enclosures: 4. Tools of the Trade. (MacGyverizm).

Table of contents

Trailer. We never produced a trailer for this DVD.

Self Reporting Form: Never produced. This seminar was never intended for architects.  Learning units may be arranged on individual basis for an additional fee, and would require a competency component (filling an email questionnaire after you watched the video).

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The seminars focus on areas typically overlooked by architects and engineers in process of building envelope design. The topics are chosen on basis of observations derived from both forensic investigations of failed assemblies and peer reviews of architectural documentation.

The  seminar captures the draft slideshow version  from spring 2012, and includes only Kaz’s part. It does not include the Reid’s part, which contained 5 slides. The greening seminar was probably the most changed seminar, and the latest version barely resembled this video. Going forward, we may digitize this seminar as well.

Version.  It’s  one of the early versions from year 2012, which was prepared by Kaz for coordination with Reid. We never had the time to update this DVD later.

Packaging:  May vary. We will probably switch to cardboard sleeves soon.

How Can I get it? We  sell them directly, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon. They are currently available for download.

Price:  We also encourage a purchase of several DVDs at a discount.If you plan to purchase, please approve the applicable terms and conditions. When you press the “Buy Now” button, you will be taken to the checkout webpage.

 




 

greening dvd

 

Terms and Conditions

Warning: Do NOT purchase unless you read and understood the terms and conditions that apply. Purchaser agrees to make the video available only to those individuals for whom a license has been purchased, otherwise heavy penalties would apply. You are purchasing a license or “right to view,” and the licensee must agree to the terms and conditions that apply to the purchase. We need to know the name and email address of each for each individual viewer/ licensee before we can complete your order (if you use Paypal, please place the information in the “comments” section to speed up the process).

Time and Shipping. Orders are fullfilled within one week. First-class shipping by USPS to the continental U.S. is the default method of shipment. Contact us if you require overseas shipment.

Taxes. Florida sales tax is added to the order.

Updates: We no longer provide updates, regardless of whatever may be printed and said on them.

Learning Units: We no longer provide them, regardless of whatever may be printed and said.

Other Languages: Videos are available in English language only, but we will burn DVDs with subtitles in the most demanded languages. (Wideo bedzie na razie dostepne jedynie w jezyku angielskim, ale zrobimy napisy w innych jezykach w zaleznosci of zapotrzebowania.)

Large Orders: Since Kaz ’s videos are useful for group viewing, pricing is set according to the total number of individuals who will view the video. Contact us if your party is larger than 10.

This post was written by Kaz

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Façade Engineering With Glass – Canned Seminar on 2 DVDs – Coming Soon!

Duration:  4 hrs although your mileage may vary.  The educational seminar runs for approx.  4 hours running time plus introductions and presentations. The original source seminar consisted of 652 slides.

Comments:  seminar about architectural glass, which addresses the typical architectural questions: how to use the glass to achieve the desired architectural goals, and what advances in technology help to shape the modern architecture. Kaz talks about spectrally selective coatings, insulative glass, acoustic glass, security glass, self‐cleaning glass, photo voltaic arrays, anti‐reflective glass, switchable glass, and low‐iron glass, and structural characteristics of glass. He also discusses what old challenges remain, such as misaligned performance expectations, obsolete codes and standards, production size limits, dimensional tolerances, energy and security misconceptions, glare, and life expectancy. He will also discuss challenges that emerged recently, such as cladding two‐directionally curved facades. Proper glass specification that helps avoid surprises in the field would be discussed as well. Daylight and Solar Heat Gain simulation software will be discussed.

Audience: Architects.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to categorize fundamental safety considerations though example details and case studies for use in developing their fenestration design.
  2. Participants will be able to identify factors leading to condensation though example details and charts so they can be addressed in detailing fenestration.
  3. Participants will be able to identify the structural aspects of fenestration design though example details and case studies leading for use in coordinating with manufacturers and consultants.
  4. Participants will be able to target areas subject to thermal movement through example details for use in coordinating expansion room with adjacent construction.
  5. Participants will be able to identify key components in curtain wall systems via review of product details for use in properly specifying application of these products in a project.
  6. Participants will be able to identify key components in storefront systems via review of product details for use in properly specifying application of these products in a project.
  7. Participants will be able to identify types of operable windows via review of product details for use in selecting optimal product selection to achieve desired project design and/or programmatic goals.
  8. Participants will be able to identify limitations of doors via review of product details for use in mitigating water, air, and sound infiltration/exfiltration.
  9. Participants will be able to identify reasons for curtain wall collapse via use of case studies so these deficiencies can be averted in future projects.
  10. Participants will be able to identify factors leading to glass blemishes via use of case studies so proper specification is used in future projects.
  11. Participants will be able to identify factors leading to glass breakage via use of case studies to aid in future review of submittals and field conditons.
  12. Participants will be able to identify factors leading to skylight collapse via use of case studies to so these conditions can be averted in future projects.
  13. Participants will be able to identify critical interface areas of parapets via use of case studies and project details so these conditions can be averted in future projects.
  14. Participants will be able to identify critical interface areas of curtain wall-eave transitions
  15. Participants will be able to identify critical interface areas of AC duct-curtain wall transitions
  16. Participants will be able to calculate solar heat gain coefficients via use of site gathered data for use in efficiently designing building improvements.

Table of contents includes:

DESIGN ASPECTS (234 slides)

Transparency – Slides -

Coolness

Safety

adversary forces

energy quiz

Condensation

Structural

Thermal Movements

Noise

Security

Fire and Smoke

Sources of info

 

ASSEMBLIES (152 slides)

fenestration vs skylights

Curtain walls

Operables

Storefronts

Doors

Canopies

 

 

LESSONS LEARNED (89 slides)

(BAD) Glass Tower

Curtain Wall Collapse

Glass Blemishes

Breakage

Skylight Collapse

Mismatch

Bowing

Tolerances

Wind Pressure Damage

Specification Errors – Heat Resistance

 

PROCESS (89 slides)

Glazing Schedule

Design Data and Performance Reqs

Challenges of Delegated Design

Tracing Envelopes

Facade Tectonics

Interface Details

Testing Specs

Risk by Location

 

CASE STUDIES (88 slides)

Parapet Design

CW/Eave Transition

AC Duct/ CW Transitions

How to back-estimate SHGC

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The seminars focus on areas typically overlooked by architects and engineers in process of building envelope design. The topics are chosen on basis of observations derived from both forensic investigations of failed assemblies and peer reviews of architectural documentation.

Version.  This DVD has not been produced yet. Email us so we can gauge the interest.

Packaging:  May vary. We will probably switch to cardboard sleeves soon.

How Can I get it? We  sell them directly via the form below, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon.

Price: TBD. We also encourage a purchase of several DVDs at a discount.

fenestration DVD

 

This post was written by Kaz

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Canned Seminars on DVDs

If you are like me, with the end of the year approaching, you probably think about meeting your continuing education requirements.

It’s been a while since I posted the information about my seminars, and available educational DVDs.   Here is the update.

The following “canned” seminars are available both in person and on DVDs:

1) Principles of Facade Design

2) Curtain Walls

3)Aspects of Building Enclosure Design in Hurricane Country: Hot and Humid Climate

4)Thermal Engineering in Building Envelope Design – Canned Seminar on DVD

5)3D Analysis of Cold Bridging in Curtain Wall Design

How Can I get them? We  sell them directly, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon.

Price for the package of five DVDs. You can also purchase individual DVDs following their individual links above.

If you plan to purchase, please approve the applicable terms and conditions. When you press the “Buy Now” button, you will be taken to the checkout webpage.

Please contact us prior to purchase if you need international shipment, so we can calculate it for you. It would be more than domestic.


dvds

 

Here are two more bulk  purchase options:

1) pick your choice of any three DVDs EXCEPT FOR THE THERMAL SEMINAR and pay only $50. You need to write their names or numbers in the message window, otherwise we won’t know what to ship…


which DVDs do you want?


2) pick  your choice of any three DVDs including the thermal seminar and pay only $85.You need to write their names or numbers in the message window, otherwise we won’t know what to ship…


which DVDs do you want?


Seminars coming soon on DVDs:

6) Greening Building Envelopes

7) Façade Engineering With Glass

8) Curtain Wall Detail Digest

9) Storefronts, doors, and other operable glazed partitions.

These seminars are almost ready, with enough materials just waiting to be edited. If you are interested in any particular seminar, please let me know! I need an encouragement to put aside enough time to make those DVDs. Otherwise, they are just pushed down in priority on my to-do list, as they did for the last several years.

We can probably arrange  learning units for organized groups which would include a competency component (a test). Please reach out to us with your specific circumstances, so we can find out.

Customers generally prefer having Kaz in person, due to the different dynamics, better understanding, and interaction with the speaker. English isn’t his first language, so it’d  take some time to adjust your ears, which is easier when you see him talking and can stop him to ask clarifying questions. Also,  live seminars are continually developed and updated as the author remains active in the field and adds new stories or replace the old ones in constant pursuit to better clarify the subject, while fossilized DVDs captured early versions of his seminars.  Contact us  to schedule a live seminar.

Here is a fragment of Kaz’s seminar recorded in Chicago, where he talked about noise resistance: https://youtu.be/PFswqfpZIME

And a fragment of Kaz’s seminar recorded in Chicago, where he talked about flood resistance: https://youtu.be/gObhaTfBD6U

And a fragment of Kaz’s seminar recorded in Atlanta, where he talked about design delegation: https://youtu.be/J6-CerehQFc

 

Terms and Conditions

Warning: Do NOT purchase unless you read and understood the terms and conditions that apply. Purchaser agrees to make the video available only to those individuals for whom a license has been purchased, otherwise heavy penalties would apply. You are purchasing a license or “right to view,” and the licensee must agree to the terms and conditions that apply to the purchase. We need to know the name and email address of each for each individual viewer/ licensee before we can complete your order (if you use Paypal, please place the information in the “comments” section to speed up the process).

Time and Shipping. Orders are fullfilled within one week. First-class shipping by USPS to the continental U.S. is the default method of shipment. Contact us if you require overseas shipment. It will be more than domestic.

Taxes. Florida sales tax is added to the order.

Updates: We no longer provide updates, regardless of whatever may be printed and said on them.

Learning Units: We no longer provide them, regardless of whatever may be printed and said.

Other Languages: Videos are available in English language only, but we will burn DVDs with subtitles in the most demanded languages. (Wideo bedzie na razie dostepne jedynie w jezyku angielskim, ale zrobimy napisy w innych jezykach w zaleznosci of zapotrzebowania.)

Large Orders: Since Kaz ’s videos are useful for group viewing, pricing is set according to the total number of individuals who will view the video. Contact us if your party is larger than 10.

 

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

3D Analysis of Cold Bridging in Curtain Wall Design – Canned Seminar on DVD

Duration: The educational seminar runs for approx. 40 minutes, (although your mileage may vary if you pause the show to read slides) running time. The original source seminar consisted of 122 slides.

Comments: This educational seminar discusses thermal modeling and specification of three-dimensional cold bridging in curtain walls. Modern curtain walls often feature protruding overhangs, exterior shading, and random jogs in plane (to list only a few), which need to be custom designed and fine tuned to meet the specified thermal performance requirements. We show two case studies of sunshade bracket penetrations and explain how some relatively easy and inexpensive modifications (i.e. substitution of a nylon shim or stainless steel plate) can influence the curtain wall performance. The seminar describes typical challenges and solutions experienced on the average project, focusing on those aspects which are typically overlooked by others. The 3D modeling is a very narrow niche; however, the content is delivered at an elementary level. It comes straight from horse’s mouth, because Kaz is a curtain wall and 3D modeling expert.

The interested reader may also refer to the articles: “Using 3D Thermal Modeling to Improve Performance Requirements” in JBED Summer 2010 and “Condensation Risk Assessment” in The Construction Specifier 10/2007, available via our old website.

Audience: It’s intended for construction design professionals who are on the receiving end of the modeling and simulation process, including curtain wall contractors’ teams.

Learning objectives:

Table of contents

Trailer. We never produced a trailer for this DVD.

 Self Reporting Form: Never produced. Learning units may be arranged on individual basis for an additional fee, and would require a competency component (a test after you watched the video).

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The seminars focus on areas typically overlooked by architects and engineers in process of building envelope design. The topics are chosen on basis of observations derived from both forensic investigations of failed assemblies and peer reviews of architectural documentation.

The  seminar was given by Kaz only once, at the University of Southern California. This video was prepared on basis of the draft of the slideshow and shipped ahead of time to be played in case Kaz couldn’t make it. However, Kaz had successfully arrived on time, and by then has changed the seminar completely.

Version.  It’s  the first version from year 2013. We never had the time to update this DVD.

Packaging:  May vary. We will probably switch to cardboard sleeves soon.

How Can I get it? We  sell them directly, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon. They are currently available for download.
Price:  We also encourage a purchase of several DVDs at a discount.If you plan to purchase, please approve the applicable terms and conditions. When you press the “Buy Now” button, you will be taken to the checkout webpage.




 

3D Analysis of Cold Bridging in Curtain Wall Design

3D Analysis of Cold Bridging in Curtain Wall Design

Terms and Conditions

Warning: Do NOT purchase unless you read and understood the terms and conditions that apply. Purchaser agrees to make the video available only to those individuals for whom a license has been purchased, otherwise heavy penalties would apply. You are purchasing a license or “right to view,” and the licensee must agree to the terms and conditions that apply to the purchase. We need to know the name and email address of each for each individual viewer/ licensee before we can complete your order (if you use Paypal, please place the information in the “comments” section to speed up the process).

Time and Shipping. Orders are fullfilled within one week. First-class shipping by USPS to the continental U.S. is the default method of shipment. Contact us if you require overseas shipment.

Taxes. Florida sales tax is added to the order.

Updates: We no longer provide updates, regardless of whatever may be printed and said on them.

Learning Units: We no longer provide them, regardless of whatever may be printed and said.

Other Languages: Videos are available in English language only, but we will burn DVDs with subtitles in the most demanded languages. (Wideo bedzie na razie dostepne jedynie w jezyku angielskim, ale zrobimy napisy w innych jezykach w zaleznosci of zapotrzebowania.)

Large Orders: Since Kaz ’s videos are useful for group viewing, pricing is set according to the total number of individuals who will view the video. Contact us if your party is larger than 10.

 

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Thermal Engineering in Building Envelope Design – Canned Seminar on DVD

Duration: The educational seminar runs for approx. 2-1/2 hours, (although your mileage may vary if you pause the show to read individual slides) running time plus introductions and presentations. The original source seminar consisted of 713 slides and was delivered at high rate of speed.

Comments: Seminar describes the means and goals of energy engineering with respect to building envelopes: heat transfer and condensation risk assessment procedures and presents the basic thermodynamics concepts with special focus on the areas typically overlooked by architects.

Target Audience:  Kaz slanted it for achitects. For some reasons engineers seemed to be the most enthusiastic recipients among mixed attendance consisting of architects, contractors, code officials, etc. One architect”s  comment summarized it well: “It was quite scary. You suddenly realize how much there is to know.” The most interested attendants tend to be Kaz’s competitors: building enclosure consultants, because Kaz shows the tricks of the trade.

Learning objectives: 1. LEED EA energy optimization credit and ASHRAE 90.1. Comparison between energy optimization and renewable energy source. 2. Basic components of thermal comfort, introduction to psychometrics. How heat is propagated – radiation, conduction, convection. 3. Measures of energy transfer – thermal transmittance, resistance, heat storage, emissivity, and convection. 4. Uniqueness of hot climate and basic condensation risk differences. Moisture transmission and accumulation, permeability of materials and diffusion, air leakage. 5. Condensation risk assessment, three dimensional thermal bridging, steady state and transient analyses, moisture migration analyses. 6. Case study of window in a precast concrete wall,. 7. Case study of a curtain wall bay. 8. Case study of an aluminum transom.

Table of contents

•Basic Physics – Modes of Heat Transfer
•Exterior Building Envelope
•Energy Code
•Where Errors Come From
•Communication Challenges
•Typical Forgotten Assemblies
•Material Measures, U factors, R values
•Energy Transfer Modes
•Determining Alternative U-Factors
•Example
•Case Studies:

Curtain Wall Offset

Curtain Wall Transom

Window in Curtain Wall

Window In Precast Wall

Sloped Glazing Rafter

•Energy Transfer Modes Again
•Steady State vs. Transient:
•Dynamic Thermally Disconnected Building Envelopes
•Active Ventilation – Double Skin Facades
••Thermal Mass, Passive Solar,
•Phase Change Materials
•Double Skin Facades
•Condensation Control
•Climate Differences
•Vapor Permeance Rule of Thumb
•Heat Control Structural Impact
•Thermal Movement
•Atmospheric Icing
•Solar Design
•Glass Coolness
•SHGC and VLT
•Shading Design
•Thermal Bridging
•Bridging Solutions
•Ecology – LEED, etc.
•Green Challenges
•Durability
•Sources: Books, Seminars, DVDs,
•Does and Don’ts

Trailer. We never produced a trailer for this DVD.  However; we posted two case studies from this seminar free of charge online:

Case Study 1 – 3D Thermal Analysis of a Curtain Wall Bay (length 7 minutes) . This famous case of a structural curtain wall was also described in my article published in JBED  in 2010, available for download at our old website.

Case Study 2 – 2D Thermal Analysis of a Mullion (length 11 minutes). This video describes the process of improvement of a horizontal mullion of a curtain wall, which was found substandard at the submittal stage. It shows a number of variations and their effects on the thermal performance.

 Self Reporting Form: The old form is available for download. AIA spent our dues on frequent changes of their website, making it even less intuitive every time, so the specific steps had varied already by the time I was finished with the form. Please note that jurisdictions may vary with their acceptance of self-reported units, please check with your state first.

HSW: Yes, over 75%  in 3 category: Salutary physical effects among users.

Sustainable Design: YES.

SD Categories that apply – Category VII. Energy Flows and Energy Future Sustainable design conserves energy and resources and reduces the carbon footprint while improving building performance and comfort. Sustainable design anticipates future energy sources and needs.

Topics:  Conserving Systems and Equipment ,   Energy Modeling ,   Mass Absorption ,   Thermal Bridging,   Windows and Openings

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The seminars focus on areas typically overlooked by architects and engineers in process of building envelope design. The topics are chosen on basis of observations derived from both forensic investigations of failed assemblies and peer reviews of architectural documentation.

Version.  It’s  the first version recorded on DVD in year 2013. He never had the time to update this DVD. Kaz originally developed this seminar in year 2005, and delivered it in New York Cit in 2005. (He didn’t speak much English at the time).  This video was based on the AIA 2030 Challenge seminar delivered in Columbus and served as a draft before the BEC Colorado seminar, so if you attended one of those two, you may recognize some remote similarities. At some point it was registered with AIA for learning units and the required AIA slides were added, please ignore them, as we no longer have time to report individual learning units.

Author: Overshadowed by his later accomplishments is the fact that Kaz worked as Energy Rater on over 200 buildings, many of them high rise, while getting his Masters in Architecture. (In his Greening Seminar you can hear him recalling some juicy stories from this period.)  Later, he pioneered 3D thermal simulations in curtain walls. In this seminar, he is just trying to explain the basics to the architects.

Packaging:  May vary. We will probably switch to cardboard sleeves soon.

Price: We also encourage a purchase of several DVDs at a discount.

How Can I get it? We  sell them directly via the form below, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon.

If you plan to purchase, please approve the applicable  terms and conditions. When you press the “Buy Now” button, you will be taken to the checkout webpage.




Thermal Engineering in Building Envelope Design

Thermal Engineering in Building Envelope Design

Terms and Conditions

Warning: Do NOT purchase unless you read and understood the terms and conditions that apply. Purchaser agrees to make the video available only to those individuals for whom a license has been purchased, otherwise heavy penalties would apply. You are purchasing a license or “right to view,” and the licensee must agree to the terms and conditions that apply to the purchase. We need to know the name and email address of each for each individual viewer/ licensee before we can complete your order (if you use Paypal, please place the information in the “comments” section to speed up the process).

Time and Shipping. Orders are fullfilled within one week. First-class shipping by USPS to the continental U.S. is the default method of shipment. Contact us if you require overseas shipment.

Taxes. Florida sales tax is added to the order.

Updates: We no longer provide updates, regardless of whatever may be printed and said on them.

Learning Units: We no longer provide them, regardless of whatever may be printed and said.

Other Languages: Videos are available in English language only, but we will burn DVDs with subtitles in the most demanded languages. (Wideo bedzie na razie dostepne jedynie w jezyku angielskim, ale zrobimy napisy w innych jezykach w zaleznosci of zapotrzebowania.)

Large Orders: Since Kaz ’s videos are useful for group viewing, pricing is set according to the total number of individuals who will view the video. Contact us if your party is larger than 10.

 

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Aspects of Building Enclosure Design in Hurricane Country: Hot and Humid Climate – Canned Seminar on DVD

Duration: 1-1/4 hour, although your mileage may vary.  The educational seminar runs for approx.  1-1/4 hour running time plus introductions and presentations. The original source seminar consisted of 270 slides. The DVD version has numerous videos added, with the average slide lasting for only 10 seconds. One attendant compared it to taking a sip from a fire hose.

Comments: Seminar presents non-obvious aspects of building enclosure design in hot and humid climates frequented by hurricanes. It discusses typical hazards and perils such as: flood, post hurricane scarcities, sun, rain, humidity, temperature, wildlife, wind, windborne debris, and cultural challenges. Requested most often by foreign architects planning to design in the Gulf region.

Learning objectives: 1. Unique design challenges presented by hot and humid climates.2 aspects of climate differences. 3 wind load examples and code provisions. 4 typical perils and solutions.

Table of contents includes: Climate Classification, Perils, Functions, Aspects, Strom Surge, Post-Hurricane Recovery, Choice of Systems, Glazing Recovery, Good Practice vs. Code, Rehab Considerations, Insolation and Aging, Corrosion, Solar Heat Gain, IGU, Wildlife, Cultural Challenges, Hygrothermal Aspects, Case Example, latent Heat, Dead Spaces, Air LEakage, Diffusion, Pressurization, Wind and Impact, Uplift, Bracing, Roofing, Sources of Information, Final Remarks, and Conclusion.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The seminars focus on areas typically overlooked by architects and engineers in process of building envelope design. The topics are chosen on basis of observations derived from both forensic investigations of failed assemblies and peer reviews of architectural documentation.

Version.  It’s  still the first version. We never had the time to update this DVD.

Packaging:  May vary. We will probably switch to cardboard sleeves soon.

How Can I get it? We  sell them directly via the form below, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon:

Price: We also encourage a purchase of several DVDs at a discount.

If you plan to purchase, please approve the applicable  terms and conditions. When you press the “Buy Now” button, you will be taken to the checkout webpage.




DVD cover

DVD cover “Aspects of Building Enclosure Design in Hurricane Country: Hot and Humid Climate.”

 

Terms and Conditions

Warning: Do NOT purchase unless you read and understood the terms and conditions that apply. Purchaser agrees to make the video available only to those individuals for whom a license has been purchased, otherwise heavy penalties would apply. You are purchasing a license or “right to view,” and the licensee must agree to the terms and conditions that apply to the purchase. We need to know the name and email address of each for each individual viewer/ licensee before we can complete your order (if you use Paypal, please place the information in the “comments” section to speed up the process).

Time and Shipping. Orders are fullfilled within one week. First-class shipping by USPS to the continental U.S. is the default method of shipment. Contact us if you require overseas shipment.

Taxes. Florida sales tax is added to the order.

Updates: We no longer provide updates, regardless of whatever may be printed and said on them.

Learning Units: We no longer provide them, regardless of whatever may be printed and said.

Other Languages: Videos are available in English language only, but we will burn DVDs with subtitles in the most demanded languages. (Wideo bedzie na razie dostepne jedynie w jezyku angielskim, ale zrobimy napisy w innych jezykach w zaleznosci of zapotrzebowania.)

Large Orders: Since Kaz ’s videos are useful for group viewing, pricing is set according to the total number of individuals who will view the video. Contact us if your party is larger than 10.

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Curtain Walls – Canned Seminar on DVD

Duration: The educational seminar runs for approx. 1 hour running time plus introductions and presentations, although your results may vary.  Attendants typically commented about very rich content delivered at a very high rate of speed, which required them to pause slides often so they can digest them. The original source seminar consisted of 306 slides.  One attendant compared it to taking a sip from a fire hose.

Comments: Curtain Wall 101. Presents curtain walls, their fundamental classification, and challenges and solutions associated with them. The structural role of curtain walls, fundamental classification of curtain walls, glazing types and their modes of failures are analyzed, relevant building code requirements, tests of curtain walls, and main sources of water leakage are discussed. Structural role of curtain walls and their comparison with load-bearing walls and the importance of movement and adjustment of joinery are briefly explained. The seminar presents a fundamental classification of curtain walls by function, materials, place of assembly, mullion type, glass type, attachment, access, and configuration. Primary façade design principles are classified and demonstrated on curtain wall components, with emphasis on a structural safety and a holistic approach. Both classifications were developed by the author for purposes of curtain wall specification and education of designers. Sources of misunderstanding and confusion are explained, ranging from the uncoordinated design delegation, through a general lack of knowledge of façade functions among construction professionals, to the structural aspects unique to curtain walls. The most typical challenges are illustrated by cases of field failures from the author’s forensic practice. Glazing types and their modes of failures are analyzed, and dangers associated with their misunderstanding on example of building code inadequacies are presented. Relevant building code requirements are listed on example of the Florida Building Code. Tests of curtain walls are visited, and main sources of water leakage are indicated. The lecture is elementary in nature to optimally address the average professional audience. Both a curtain wall and a sloped glazing remain an exclusive domain of a high-rise, high-end construction. As a result, a limited number of construction professionals are familiar with their design, inspection, and troubleshooting. Rapid technological advancements of coating technology, architectural glass, and the structural glass engineering create a widening educational lag. Educational opportunities and literature on the subject remain scarce. The resulting confusion among some professionals is unfortunately reflected in and demonstrated by failures of existing buildings.

Audience: This version of the seminar was slanted for architects. (There were other versions slanted to real estate managers, insurance adjusters, and contractors). However, this seminar really took off only after Kaz delivered it at the famous Joe Lstiburek’s Summer Camp. Since then, building enclosure consultants  remained the most interested attendees, because Kaz shares knowledge and experience of an European facade engineer, unavailable otherwise to professionals.

Learning objectives: 1. Fundamental classification of curtain walls. 2. Sources of misunderstanding and confusion. 3. Glazing types and their modes of failure. 4. Relevant building code requirements.

Table of contents

Trailer.
Link for those who don’t see the trailer in the window above: http://youtu.be/QJhAHEkU-9U

Self Reporting Form: The old form is available for download. AIA spent our dues on frequent changes of their website, making it even less intuitive every time, so the specific steps had varied already by the time I was finished with the form. Please note that jurisdictions may vary with their acceptance of self-reported units, please check with your state first.

HSW: Yes, over 75%  in 1 category: Salutary physical effects among users.

Sustainable Design: NO.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The seminars focus on areas typically overlooked by architects and engineers in process of building envelope design. The topics are chosen on basis of observations derived from both forensic investigations of failed assemblies and peer reviews of architectural documentation.

Version.  It’s still the very first version recorded on DVD (Dec 2011). Kaz developed this seminar around year 2006. He never updated the DVD, although the actual live seminar has evolved since then. At some point it was registered with AIA for learning units and the required AIA slides were added, please ignore them, as we no longer have time to report individual learning units.

Packaging:  May vary. We will probably switch to cardboard sleeves soon.

How Can I get it? We  sell them directly via the form below, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon:
Price:
We also encourage a purchase of several DVDs at a discount. If you plan to purchase, please approve the applicable terms and conditions. When you press the “Buy Now” button, you will be taken to the checkout webpage.




 

DVD cover

DVD cover “Curtain Walls .”

 

Terms and Conditions

Warning: Do NOT purchase unless you read and understood the terms and conditions that apply. Purchaser agrees to make the video available only to those individuals for whom a license has been purchased, otherwise heavy penalties would apply. You are purchasing a license or “right to view,” and the licensee must agree to the terms and conditions that apply to the purchase. We need to know the name and email address of each for each individual viewer/ licensee before we can complete your order (if you use Paypal, please place the information in the “comments” section to speed up the process).

Time and Shipping. Orders are fullfilled within one week. First-class shipping by USPS to the continental U.S. is the default method of shipment. Contact us if you require overseas shipment.

Taxes. Florida sales tax is added to the order.

Updates: We no longer provide updates, regardless of whatever may be printed and said on them.

Learning Units: We no longer provide them, regardless of whatever may be printed and said.

Other Languages: Videos are available in English language only, but we will burn DVDs with subtitles in the most demanded languages. (Wideo bedzie na razie dostepne jedynie w jezyku angielskim, ale zrobimy napisy w innych jezykach w zaleznosci of zapotrzebowania.)

Large Orders: Since Kaz ’s videos are useful for group viewing, pricing is set according to the total number of individuals who will view the video. Contact us if your party is larger than 10.

 

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Principles of Facade Design – Canned Seminar on DVD

Duration: 1 hour, although your results may vary.  The educational seminar runs for approx. 1 hour running time plus introductions and presentations. The original source seminar consisted of 236 slides. The DVD version has numerous videos added, with the average slide lasting for only 10 seconds. One attendant compared it to taking a sip from a fire hose.

Comments: Facade Engineering 101. Generally recommended as a starter of the series. The lecture discusses design and engineering of building enclosures. Primary façade design principles are classified and demonstrated with emphasis on a structural safety and a holistic approach.

Audience: Architects

Learning objectives: 1. Understanding facade functions. 2. Ability to verify correctness of facade drawings. 3. Recognition of impact of building enclosures on energy expenditure – on basis of LEED system. 4. Familiarity with principles governing building enclosure design. 5. Practical application of facade principles. 6. Recognition of importance and prioritizing of facade functions.

Table of contents includes: Classification of Façade Functions, Definitions, Environmental Protection, Ergonomics, Access Provisions, Feasibility, General Explanation of Façade Design Principles, Structural Resistance, Waterproofing, Condensation Control, Snow and Icing, Thermal Insulation, Shading, Durability, Wildlife Proofing, Flood Proofing, Noise Mitigation, Security, Dirt Build-up Prevention, Fire and Smoke Proofing, Economy, Hints on choosing your team, and Sources of Information.

Trailer. .
Link for those who don’t see the trailer in the window above: http://youtu.be/dRASUEF9TfY

And a fragment of Kaz’s seminar recorded in Chicago, where he talked about noise resistance: https://youtu.be/PFswqfpZIME

And a fragment of Kaz’s seminar recorded in Chicago, where he talked about flood resistance: https://youtu.be/gObhaTfBD6U

 Self Reporting Form: The old form is available for download. AIA spent our dues on frequent changes of their website, making it even less intuitive every time, so the specific steps had varied already by the time I was finished with the form. Please note that jurisdictions may vary with their acceptance of self-reported units, please check with your state first. Learning units may be arranged on individual basis for a fee, and would require a competency component (a test after you watched the video).

HSW: Yes, over 75%  in 3 categories: Engender demonstratable positive responses.   Limit or prevent accidental injury or death among users.   Salutary physical effects among users.

Sustainable Design: YES.

Category IV. Bioclimatic Design Sustainable design conserves resources and maximizes comfort through design adaptations to site-specific and regional climate conditions. 

Topics:  Daylighting,   Sun Shading,   Thermal Bridging ,   Windows and Openings, Sustainable Design

Category VII. Energy Flows and Energy Future Sustainable design conserves energy and resources and reduces the carbon footprint while improving building performance and comfort. Sustainable design anticipates future energy sources and needs.

Topics: Energy Modeling,   Sun Shading,   Windows and Openings, Sustainable Design

Category VIII. Materials and Construction Sustainable design includes the informed selection of materials and products to reduce product-cycle environmental impacts, improve performance, and optimize occupant health and comfort.

Topics: Thermal Bridging,   Windows and Openings

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The seminars focus on areas typically overlooked by architects and engineers in process of building envelope design. The topics are chosen on basis of observations derived from both forensic investigations of failed assemblies and peer reviews of architectural documentation.

Version.  It’s  still the first version. We never had the time to update the DVD.

Packaging:  May vary. We will probably switch to cardboard sleeves soon.

How Can I get it? We  sell them directly via the form below, as well as they will be available through third-party re-sellers soon:

Price:  We also encourage a purchase of several DVDs at a discount.

If you plan to purchase, please approve the applicable terms and conditions. When you press the “Buy Now” button, you will be taken to the checkout webpage.




DVD cover

DVD cover “Principles of Facade Design”

 

Terms and Conditions

Warning: Do NOT purchase unless you read and understood the terms and conditions that apply. Purchaser agrees to make the video available only to those individuals for whom a license has been purchased, otherwise heavy penalties would apply. You are purchasing a license or “right to view,” and the licensee must agree to the terms and conditions that apply to the purchase. We need to know the name and email address of each for each individual viewer/ licensee before we can complete your order (if you use Paypal, please place the information in the “comments” section to speed up the process).

Time and Shipping. Orders are fullfilled within one week. First-class shipping by USPS to the continental U.S. is the default method of shipment. Contact us if you require overseas shipment.

Taxes. Florida sales tax is added to the order.

Updates: We no longer provide updates, regardless of whatever may be printed and said on them.

Learning Units: We no longer provide them, regardless of whatever may be printed and said.

Other Languages: Videos are available in English language only, but we will burn DVDs with subtitles in the most demanded languages. (Wideo bedzie na razie dostepne jedynie w jezyku angielskim, ale zrobimy napisy w innych jezykach w zaleznosci of zapotrzebowania.)

Large Orders: Since Kaz ’s videos are useful for group viewing, pricing is set according to the total number of individuals who will view the video. Contact us if your party is larger than 10.

 

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Our Clients

We value patronage of our clients, to mention a few, and in no particular order:

Loews Hotels

HDR, Inc

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope

LEO A DALY

Florida Atlantic University

Stantec Consulting Services Inc.

Hutchison Lucaya Ltd.

WCD Group

Oceanview Owners Association

Accolade Construction

Fox Rothschild LLP

Morrison Hershfield

Paramount Consulting and Engineering, LLC

Z.W. Jarosz Architect P.A.

J. L.LaVallee Construction, Inc.

Haffey Architects and Engineers PLLC

Nassau Airport Development Company

JCB Contracting, Inc.

Battle Creek Glass Works

Ferguson Glasgow Schuster Soto, Inc.

S W B R  A R C H I T E C T S

HOC Consulting (HOCC)

Alexiou & Associates Architects

Building Diagnostics Associates

Epsylon Aluminum and Engineering

Soniat Realty Inc.

Southwest Progressive Enterprises

Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L.

MP Drafting and Design

MCHarry Associates

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Give Them the Second Life – A Call for Glass Samples

glass samples

 

Are you planning to dispose of architectural glass samples? The ridiculously heavy, 1 foot by 1 foot squares from the long-forgotten projects, which still take up the precious space in your office? Rather than sending them to a landfill, give them to us.

I grew up in a small communist country behind the iron curtain, and I still remember  a huge drum where all broken glass was duly collected in the corner of our local glazier’s shop for recycling.  I have not found such a drum in America yet.  When I had my window replaced, I learned that i’s nearly impossible to recycle window glass.  All the energy and resources embedded in these samples just end up in waste fields.  Architectural glass is seldom recycled. 

We need over 100 glass samples for an adaptive reuse project, where we will use them to glaze a brand new house. If you are in the South Florida area and have more than 50 of them, we can come and pick them up. Also, if you are further north and have sufficiently large quantity, reach out to us, we may be able to pick them up. Your name will be placed on the list of  donors displayed prominently on site.

Obviously, since I am an architectural glass freak, I prefer interesting glass samples, so I can play with them in my spare time… However, I know these samples you would rather keep for yourself anyway.  We prefer insulated AND laminated glass samples, as well as triple insulated samples, but ANY glass samples, as long as they are 1 foot by 1 foot size are OK.

Now, if you plan to follow our example, here are the details of the project: it’s a house of 100 windows, where glass samples are set directly in masonry openings to create a large scale mosaic effect. We will follow with photographs.

Thanks for your help!

I would like to thank the following firms: Arquitectonica, McHarry Associates, and Fergusson Glasgow Schuster Soto, Inc. for their donations of glass samples!

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Winter Syndrome – Not So Much “Winter,” Anymore…

I have all kinds of people approaching me after my seminars, and I distinctively remember one gentleman who came to me in Coral Gables two or three years ago. He identified himself as a mechanical engineer and asked me for my advice. He said his son contracted a chronic respiratory illness after he replaced fenestration in his house with bran new, hurricane-proof windows.

Why do I remember it so well? Because it was sad for two reasons: someone got hurt, and a licensed mechanical engineer couldn’t recognize the phenomena behind the symptoms in his own domain. He needed an architect to tell him that his AC system no longer cuts it.

At another seminar I showed a thermal image of a facade of a building I had recently investigated in Coral Gables, and asked participants if they saw anything irregular. No-one did. The windows of the building were hotter than the wall. Why? Because no-one ever removed the hurricane panels from them. Why did it matter? Having these windows covered represented approximately two tons of excess refrigeration, wreaking havoc with the interior air quality, and making people sick.

You heard me saying that the life of a building physicist in South Florida is remarkably simple: if the phone call is in a winter, the culprit is probably the “Winter Syndrome, and if the phone call is in the summer, it’s probably the “Summer Syndrome.” I stand corrected:  on two recent projects, I observed the Winter Syndrome in spite of the temperatures approaching the summer design day in Miami.

What is the Winter Syndrome again? If you live in humid and hot climate like  South Florida, and your AC doesn’t work as often in a winter as it does in a summer, and you have no dehumidification installed, the interior air gets uncomfortably humid, leading to unpleasant symptoms including spontaneous microbial growth, rust, health problems, etc. It’s typically externalized by mold and mildew growing around AC diffusers, indicating the unmatched load.mold ac

mold around diffuser

How do you know this is the Winter Syndrome? It often looks like yet another leaky building. Architects and building managers most typically describe them to me as rain leaks, and become very suspicious when I ask AC-related questions. When I come, and stick my sensors everywhere, my RH sensors would get crazy because the air is really badly saturated with moisture, and these sensors are only good up to approximately 95% RH. The results would show the Dew Point is actually lower than the air temperature, as indicated on the chart below.

winter syndrome

 

What you see here came from a 10 ton air handler, which cycled approximately every 20 minutes. After the compressor shut down, the air delivered by the air handler was over-saturated with moisture. How do I know? The Dew Point is higher than the ambient air temperature. (Btw. the Y axis is in degrees Celsius, because I am European).

This is kind of expected and normal in partial load conditions, like winter, or partial occupation in buildings with lots of heat-producing equipment. Either there is not enough heat from the sun because it’s cloudy, or from human activities, or someone was too lazy to remove hurricane shutters, meaning that the heat load assumptions on which the AC was designed and built are much higher than the temporary load. “Expected and normal” doesn’t mean it’s healthy and correct, it just means this is the accepted norm in construction, even nowadays.

Well, how about the summer time? If the AC cannot remove humidity in the middle of the summer, and it’s not because of modifications to the building envelope such as i.e. new windows, or a new thermal insulation installed, or perhaps a bunch of tall trees which grew up in the meantime, it means that the AC was probably screwed up from the very beginning.

So now that we know the phenomena behind the symptoms, how do we deal with the issue like that?  The best way would be to replace the existing compressor with two compressors of different capacities, and configure them into a three stage system, or get a two stage compressor, or install a hot gas bypass. Good luck with any of that.  I am an architect, so I went to ask mechanical people, and asked around in mechanical supply stores. Needless to say, they accused me of insanity. The best I was able to accomplish was replacing the compressor with a smaller one, at the cost of a warranty, because the suppliers thought I must be crazy to install a small compressor in a large condenser, and refused to provide me with a warranty on a new unit.  (Over-sizing coils is actually what manufacturers do to increase efficiency, which is the reason why a condenser is often matched with a larger air handler.) However, keep in mind it’s Miami, the center of incompetence.

What I was able to accomplish is shown on the following chart (5 ton modified to 3 tons): 

after ac

This is a dense chart, because the AC cycles on average every 1:07 hr now, as opposed to 28 minutes measured before the modification, which took place on 10/16/2014. The closest the Dew Point ever got to the ambient air temperature was 8.65 degrees C. The funny thing is the air feels cooler now because of the lower humidity,  so the thermostat set-point was moved higher. Also, the 1 hp air handler motor was replaced with a 1/2 hp.

Cost of the modification? Approximately $300 installed. Now, some of you will surely ask whether it means the unit would save energy. The answer is no. The old 5 ton compressor drew 32 Amps, while the 3 ton compressor approximately half of that, but it runs twice as long.  Also, there is more latent load removed, which means that more work is done.  It’s much healthier though, and health is much more important than money.

Before we did the switch, I looked at the high efficiency AC systems, which can save up to 50% energy, and pay for themselves in the long term, because of their use of variable speed motors. I am little worried about servicing those units. Based on my research, two stage compressor and variable speed motors are not available in the average AC supply store, so early adopters will need those exteeeended warranty plans really badly. The initial cost also played the role. Although the system costs less than $3k, the cost of installation would double it. Since we need at least five units of this kind, I reached out to suppliers in China to get these AC systems economically in bulk quantity. Before we bargain them, the $300 compressor replacement would remove the issue from the priority list for a while.

This post was written by Kaz

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Your Comments

Your Comments

The functionality of a blog relies on two-way communication between the author and readers, externalized as comments under posts. The trouble is that every time I sit to the computer, there is a couple of thousands comments placed by spammers. There is no easy way to sort them, delete the spam, and obviously no time to review them; therefore I got an application called “Delete Pending Comments,” which does what  its  name suggests. Which means that, unfortunately, your valuable comments are gone, victims of the flood of spam. Therefore, if you want to place a comment, please take time to email me, including the copy of the comment! Thank you.

This post was written by Kaz

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Fenestration Symposium in Raleigh, NC

I will speak this Thursday 4/24/2014 at the BEC Fenestration Symposium in Raleigh, NC.

All those who plan to come, please read this article about fenestration. It’s my old article about Glass Coolness published in The Construction Specifier in April 2013. We will talk about this stuff!

See you there!

windows

Literature pertinent to the topics:

IBC Chapter 24 Glass and Glazing
AAMA Structural Properties of Glass (ca 1984)
ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals – Chapter 15 – Fenestration
ASTM C1036 Quality
ASTM C1300 Strength
ASTM C1172 Laminated
ASTM C1376 Coatings
ASTM E773 and E994 IGU tightness
Technical Publications by Manufacturers: Pilkington, Viracon, Oldcastle, AGC, etc.
Warranties which come with architectural glass products.

Here are the links you requested, not necessarily relevant to fenestration:

WWW.BUILDINGSCIENCE.COM
WWW. FACADESCONFIDENTIAL.BLOGSPOT.COM
WWW.FACADEENGINEERINGSOCIETY.ORG
HTTP://WWW.NRC-CNRC.GC.CA/ENG/IBP/IRC/PUBLICATIONS/
HTTP://WWW.WBDG.ORG/DESIGN/ENVELOPE.PHP
HTTP://WWW.WBDG.ORG/REFERENCES/JBED.PHP
HTTP://WWW.GOBRICK.COM/TECHNICALNOTES/TABID/7658/DEFAULT.ASPX
OLD STANDARDS – HTTPS://LAW.RESOURCE.ORG/PUB/US/CODE/IBR/ASHRAE.90.1.2007.PDF

More links are in the widget titled “Links” at the bottom right corner when you scroll the page down.

The website with the Polish windows of 0.1 U value (no endorsement in any way):

http://superwindows.eu/en/

My Publications:

(I just realized that neither the new nor the old website offer the complete selection, as I haven’t really updated much for almost two years.) Here is one from my old website:  http://www.facade-doctor.com/information.html#press, the new one sorted by tags: http://www.building-enclosure.com/tag/articles/ and the new one sorted by categories: http://www.building-enclosure.com/Topics/publications/.

More reading related to glass (warning – marketing content): http://www.building-enclosure.com/glass-experts/

Some related photos downloaded online;   http://www.building-enclosure.com/blog/pictures/

 

 

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

CBS- Concrete Block and Stucco – and how to screw it up.

You may find this post beneficial, because it deals with the most popular exterior wall system in S. Florida: CBS.

In this particular case, the general contractor strongly disagreed with the facts and with my diagnosis, and claimed they constructed walls in this manner for 20 years or so, at many other projects ,and it always worked.  And I had the temerity to tell them  the weather resistive barrier is missing, and that the building didn’t even comply with the building code? And showed them photographs of their construction deficiencies?

Funny how the same thing looks different through different glasses. I typically get calls to investigate leaks through these walls, while they typically erect them.

We are talking about the CBS (Concrete Block and Stucco)- the most popular exterior wall system in South Florida.  It’s simple: you erect a wall out of 8″ deep concrete masonry blocks, which are heavily reinforced and grouted to comply with the HVHZ (high velocity hurricane zone)  requirements, and place three coats of cement-lime stucco over it, then you paint it with a latex paint.  It’s a time-honored way of erecting exterior walls in this region, with many local variations. What can possibly go wrong?

Several things. If you attended the “Greening” seminar, you already know about the general movement joints issues which arise when CMU walls are erected AFTER the concrete frame, and your structural engineer  did not address the movement joints, and your architect didn’t coordinate with the structure (what’s the odds of these two occurrences happening simultaneously? 100%).  However, in this case, we are talking low-rise, high-budget mansion on a waterfront in Miami Beach. Which means, the concrete sub most likely poured the cast-in concrete over the CMU, as opposed to the other way, regardless of what the structural set might have told them, because they always did it this way. Thank God!  One problem less.

However, the exterior wall leaks like a sieve, in the middle of the dry season in South Florida. Why is that? One look at the wall, with several convenient exploratory openings left for me is enough to tell me the whole story: the concrete heads were not vibrated, creating a Swiss-cheese like assembly, and the brand-new stucco shows a spiderweb of cracks. The trouble is none of these assemblies are normally specified to be the weather-resistant barriers, although some local general contractors bully their subs into making them temporarily weather resistant till they collect their paychecks.  The leaks typically appear at water tables, created by floor slabs and windows’  heads and sills, because this is where the wall happens to be interrupted. This is why  the building code wisely requires through-wall flashings. The established practice is to provide none, and instead to bully the window and door contractor. Also, the concrete sub was bullied into developing a slab-edge depression, which were supposed to act as a through-wall flashing. It’s a loss of time and money and it doesn’t work, because by the time the building is finished, the rear side of the depression had been filled with mortar droppings, and rain water seeping through the exterior wall jumps over these dropping to the floor and  finds the interior direction more attractive, according to the general rule “no self-respecting drop of water  would ever miss the opportunity to enter a building.”

Sounds simple. Not code-compliant = faulty. However, who ever reads the code? Instead the GC bullied the window contractor into replacing the fenestration. Why? Because if it leaks around windows, it must be the windows that are leaking… Please replace them.  I guess I was hired to help them further this line of attack.  Sorry.

However, there are more mind-boggling surprises. We haven’t started yet.

Thermal Insulation. In this case the contractor used the vapor-retarding reflective wall insulation which seller promised to reach the code-compliant R-values, (funny enough, the seller refused to provide the actual test reports). Not that it really matters though. It’s stapled onto the vertical wood furring, before the GWB is installed. Which means two things:  regardless whether the thermal insulation works as promised or not, it’s bypassed by having the ventilation cavity in front of it, rendering it useless anyway, and the vapor retarder placed on the wrong side is also bypassed by the cavity. It’s brilliant: constructing the CBS wall in the traditional way (with the benefit of drying rain leaks by the AC), while giving the appearance of having a thermal insulation. The only party who loses in this deal is the owner who pays not only for the useless “insulation,” but also the exorbitant electric bills for the life of the building, and perhaps the mechanical engineer who may not understand where all this  load is coming from, rendering his or her system irrelevant.

Vapor retarder. The aluminum insulation used on the walls provides a vapor retarder for the field of the GWB (wherever it hasn’t been perforated by conduits), which means two things: It’s installed on the wrong side of the wall, but since it’s bypassed by the ventilated cavity open to the suspended ceiling, it’s irrelevant, except for the latent load seen by the AC system. Therefore, it protects the vapor-resistant finishes, such as porcelain tile or melanin-coated mill-work placed against the exterior walls against damage, but the air inside the building would be … musty, and less healthy, and the clothes in the closet will be covered by mold and mildew the next winter, and printer would refuse to print on wet letter-size paper, and the fridge, file cabinets, and all other steel components inside would be covered with rust in approximately one year. You have seen the video at the “Greening” seminar, didn’t you? You’ve got the idea.

Air barrier. There is none. Air just passes the cracked stucco and the masonry wall, as easily as rain water. Which explains why some mechanical engineers no longer bother to add a make-up air intake to their systems, resigned against the sad reality. Again, the owner is the one who will pay the exorbitant energy bills, long after the contractors collected their paychecks.

How to deal with it:

1. Add the through-wall flashing. It’s the code!

2. The CBS system without the flashings  needs a weather resistive barrier. You can add one under the stucco.

3.  Vapor retarder belongs outside the insulation, either along the stucco or at the outer face of the thermal insulation. It would keep the interior drier, and energy bills lower, because evap coils would see less latent heat.

4. Insulate the wall directly and do not allow for any bypasses  (i.e. adhere the polyiso board to the exterior wall and seal its edges with SPF).

5. Do NOT allow negatively pressurized cavities to suck on your building envelope!

6. If you already have the wall like that, you need a dam: since your bottom lightgage runner probably rusted away, when you replace it, please set it in a full bed of sealant…

leak

Exposed interior area of the exterior wall, below the water-tested window. Leak coming from the CBS wall. 

rust

Why is this bottom runner so rusty? Because the exterior CBS wall leaks like a sieve. (Photo from another, unrelated project).

windows

Leaks typically appear at water tables, created by floor slabs and windows’  heads and sills, because this is where the wall happens to be interrupted. Which is why  the building code wisely requires through-wall flashings.

cracked stucco

A stucco and concrete have a right to crack, which is why they are not normally specified to be a weather-resistive barrier.  Which is the reason why it’s unwise to rely on them for weather protection. Another interesting thing is how the liquid-applied roofing was terminated against this wall: against the front surface of the stucco, which makes me believe the window opening issues would be the least of their worries. Then, as in the old Russian saying it would be best to just paint it and sell it, and let the next owner to worry about it.

We haven’t exhausted all the issues I see in these walls yet, so stay tuned…

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Bad Back – Lumbar Herniated Disc

People ask me how come I no longer need a cane to walk.  I have five bad discs in my lower spine, and while cleaning my truck recently I stumbled on my two canes and just realized I haven’t used them for  almost two years. No, I didn’t get the surgery.  

So I thought I would share what worked for me and what didn’t. 

Architects and engineers alike suffer from bad back,  so I hope the subject is at least somehow relevant to the building enclosures…

1. Movement and rest mechanics. I have 25 years of hernia experience, and observing my wife who just had her very first onset, I discovered how differently we move and rest. There is much confusion among professionals and general public, and therefore we are exposed to much misinformation. Eight years ago, I discovered a book titled: “Treat Your Own Back” by a New Zealand doctor named Robin A. McKenzie. It explained a lot and clarified a lot of this confusion. I discovered that my doctors and therapists had it all wrong before. I got some foam pillows to keep my spine properly curved when I am at rest, and I stopped bending my back the wrong way. When I feel my back is tired and ready to go, I lay supine on my tailgate or any available table with my legs hanging down for a couple of minutes. I also use my IKEA Poang chair in a way that was probably never envisioned by its designers – in reverse.  If I happen to be in a place where no convenient elevated flat surface is available (i.e. airport terminals) I find a relatively clean carpet spot, lay on my belly and raise my feet up behind me. A place like that and preferably located near an electric outlet allowing me to plug my laptop and lay for several hours saved my back at many layovers.

save back

2.Bad and ineffective exercise. The worst kind of exercise is exemplified by pulling on your shoes or boots in the morning. I was told by one doctor that this one seemingly innocent act sends more patients into his room than all others combined.buty

Instead, I use a long handle shoe horn (I think I got them from IKEA). Buy several of them and place them everywhere you may pull on your boots.  They tend to break easily, so get some spares. How about socks? Pull on your socks only when laying on the bed, with your back down, so at least you have some control over the stretching, and put less tension on the back. Exercise your core muscles in horizontal position whenever possible. I tried the inversion table, didn’t work for me, the problem is the same as the general challenge in the morning: relaxing the discs makes them more vulnerable to injury. Belly exercises and forward stretching which were originally prescribed to me by my doctors and therapists are not good either. They stretch the back, which should be compressed instead. Get the book and you’ll understand.

noexercise

3. Lifting. If you need to lift something or to work on a plumbing, do it in the afternoon, when your discs are already compressed. Lifting a lot? Get a hydraulic liftgate for your truck.  I wished I got one years ago. And, of course, lift with your knees, and not with your back, but you must already know that, because it’s the first thing everyone taught me. Kneeing as opposed to squatting becomes a habit and places undue stress on pants and knees. After years of trial and error, I use only military pants with internal knee pad pockets. Mouse pads make good knee pads.

4. Good exercise, preferably while doing something else (i.e. reading or browsing Internet), so it becomes a habit. When reading, I lay on my belly and raise my legs in series, training my core muscles of the lower back. When standing, I kick back (in a horse-like manner), so don’t approach me from behind…

images

5. Office Chair. Wherever I sit for a prolonged time: in my office or in the workshop, I sit on a saddle seat, which allows me to sit like on a horse back or a motorcycle: with both my legs down, which is considered the most ergonomic posture. I tried first an exercise ball on casters, then a modified exercise ball, and eventually I ended up modifying inexpensive (~$40) saddle stools purchased from different sources.  Please note: All those inexpensive saddle stools won’t fit a person taller than the average Asian and Latino who produced them.  In order to modify them to fit my 6′ frame, I had to extend their stems. I tried first welding steel cans below the seat, but unfortunately they tend to crush and compress over time. I figured out I can extend the bottom section with two pipe stubs. The diameter of the top portion of the bottom conical section is  1.88″ in many of these stools, so I grabbed my caliper and went to a junkyard to look for fitting pipes. I found two fitting sizes: one comes from an electric conduit (1-1/2″ aluminum EMT), and the other one is an automotive tailpipe. Below is the picture of an extension of a stool I got from Northern Tool:modification

Surprisingly much time is spent in a car. Therefore, it’s a good investment to get a good seat in your car or modify one.  Those which allow for tilting of the bottom seat and have an adjustable lumbar support are the best. I found that my Toyota Tundra had the best seats. In my Dodge truck, which had a cheap stock driver seat, I added a horizontal piece of foam in the back of my seat to support my lumbar (because I was too cheap to get another one), and it turned out to be a very simple operation and with a good result. Btw.  I tend to overdo everything, so before I started I read Automotive Upholstery Handbook, and it turned out to be a good read. Recently, I started flying a general aviation plane and rediscovered what a difference a bad seat makes. Half an hour of flight cramped in an ordinary, unheated seat, sets my sciatic nerve in flames.

6.Heated Seats. It may sound silly in hot places like South Florida, but the difference is huge! It relaxed my back, allowing to drive for 14 hours in a row for the first time in my life. None of my trucks had one, so I bought three $40 sets from Amazon, and cheated with installation by simply squeezing them between the foam and covers, so I  the whole installation took approximately one hour, including having a beer or two.

7.  Drugs. Every now and then I feel the approaching weather in my bones. You know the feeling. It’s a good time to swallow some anti-inflammatory drugs, starting with the ordinary Aspirin, and ending with something as powerfully suppressing  the immune system as Prednisone.  My European doctors prescribe me Ketoprofen, while American doctors give me Meloxicam. For years, I saved a stash of prescription meds that worked for me, and you should too. However, prescription drugs may affect your functions. Also, using them after the period they were prescribed is considered illegal in some places, so use your common sense. If the wait for a doctor appointment is longer than the symptom onset period (I.e. two weeks), my common sense would be seriously affected….

8. Massage. The best is the Korean one, in which the therapist walks on your back. If you live near a massage parlor like that, consider yourself lucky. I have not found one yet in SE Florida. There is an excellent one called Spadium in the Korea-town near Penn Station in NYC. Some old Chinese massage therapists know what they are doing, but finding them is a matter of luck.

9. Healers. The spinal manipulation is traditionally done in many places, including my old country, and some of them are run by renowned healers. I consider myself lucky, because I happen to be in Gdynia (located in North Poland near Gdansk) from time to time, and whenever I am in Gdynia, I go to see Mr. Bogumil Kowalewski.  Mechanically speaking, it’s somehow similar to what a chiropractor do, except it’s done right. (Forgive me, I had a less-than-perfect  experience with the first American chiropractor I went to, so I stay away from chiropractors ever since).

9. After An Attack. I have been symptom-free for two years already, thanks to the steps described above, but I was hit on regular basis before, and I know it’s not fun. What saved me were epidural injections of cortisone-alike drugs, which I get as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. Administered by Dr. Jonathan Hyde of Florida Spine Institute with me laying along the axis of a revolving X-Ray machine, showing precisely where the needle goes when it’s slowly inserted into my spine. Better than sex.

10. Over Counter. With such an extensive damage, achenes and tiredness are sad everyday facts. When doctors started prescribing powerful oral steroid immune suppressants, and I discovered the difference they make, I was looking for a magic source of similar medication.  They reduce pain, and extend days, allowing for longer work and better alertness, by tricking the overworked immune system to rest. However, they come with side effects. Which is why I started chewing licorice root, the natural source of anti inflammatory chemical. It comes with its own side effects and therefore may not be right for everyone. Do your homework. It works for me. Natural licorice is not easy to buy, as most products sold in the U.S. are artificial substitutes, precisely because of the licorice’s medical properties.

11. Soft padding. Twenty five years makes me indifferent to how differently I do things. Recently I also noted the major difference between boots I wear and the footwear used by  ordinary people. By trial and error, I identified one brand and model of boots made to military specifications, which lasts for six months, except for an occasional lemon. Their soles seem to be more shock-absorbing, and they generally hold a foot firmer. There are also some civilian specified brands which are more recommended than others. One common denominator of good shoes is they are neither cheap nor easily purchasable.

Good luck! And please share what worked for you!

 

 

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

High-albedo roof – DIY

dachI live near Miami, FL and high electricity bills drive me crazy.

High electricity bill in South Florida means typically one thing only – your cooling is too expensive.  And the three largest solar heat gains in old single family houses come from windows, roofs, and ventilation. Windows were tackled by large shades, ventilation virtually eliminated by heavy impact resistant hurricane protected openings, which don’t let much air through, and I was left with roofs, which attics were insulated, and some even had Whirlybird fans, but the AC distribution ducts were placed inside those attics.

Therefore, not surprisingly, I experimented with different DIY methods of cooling my roofs, including adhering polyiso sheets which I salvaged from a dumpster at one construction site  (all were eventually blown away by wind) , coating the roofs with the dedicated bituminous aluminum coating sold at a home improvement store  (was washed away very quickly), tackling expensive reflective insulation sheets under the deck (no perceiveable difference in ambient temperature inside attics), etc. All to no avail….

While I was doing it, I observed with astonishment the excellent durability of the average latex paint. It seems the formulation used for the average house paint exceeds many other commonly used coatings. Therefore, when I was about to dispose of several pails of old latex paint, I decided to spray it on my roof instead of dumping it in a landfill.

I left an unpainted square for comparison. And when the paint dried, I came back with my infrared camera. The result?

With the cloudy sky, this square was average 20 degrees hotter than the coated roof area….

Next day I noticed my AC is no longer working – it has no reason any more, the temperature inside is 72 degrees.

Stay tuned, I will report on the longevity and energy savings…

Here is the video I took during the operation:

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

 

I pulled my datalogger with sensors and run it yesterday evening until batteries run out (after ~3.5 hours) . The AC run only twice per hour for ~10 minutes. I will turn it on today to see how it goes. In the long term, with the AC running that infrequently, I would need to tackle the issue of high interior air humidity. It’s around 50% RH but the air outside is quite dry now, around 60% RH.

Update 3/23/2014.   The small experiment becomes interesting. I just got the FPL bill covering the period 2/6-3/6, which shows 20% lower kWh consumption than last year. I coated the roof on 2/28.  Unfortunately I have not installed an electric current datalogger on AC wiring, before I coated the roof. Unfortunately, because it would give the best comparison of the energy savings, without the variations caused by multiple other factors. However, the ad-hoc project devoted partially to the disposal of an old paint in ecologically-friendly way was performed in the normal hectic fashion, so even taking the pictures was a challenge.

Update  10/18/2014.  The paint holds well onto the asphalt shingle after seven months. roof

This post was written by Kaz

+Kaz

Access Chalenge

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Making a statement with your (fragment of) facade!

boatSimple, hang your sailboat from your balcony.

 

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Balcony Enclosures Continued

 

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Where Kaz will speak the next year – and where you would like him to speak.

 

kazJANUARY. Kaz will probably begin the year 2014 by speaking at the Facade Tectonics Conference in Los Angeles on January 11th. He will reveal how to save money on 3D thermal simulations, by specifiying them right and making early improvements. Not smart for someone who makes a living on 3D thermal insulations! If you are a curtain wall specifier or provider, this seminar may save you a lot of trouble and money. Kaz gained a reputation of addressing the most-frequently-forgotten areas avoided by other speakers, so it’s going to be interesting!

APRIL. BEC at the Research Triangle invited Kaz to speak about fenestration. Someone heard him speaking about skylights at the BEST Conference two years ago, and wanted to have him address architects in North Carolina. We get it a lot.

SUMMER. Kaz will speak in Poland – the details to be determined.

Please contact us if you would like to have him speak at your event! We are developing the 2014 schedule now. Since early 2013, he severely limited his speaking engagements, and the same reasons will prevent him from planning more than few events in 2014. It”s first-come first-serve! You stand a better chance, if you need him somewhere where he is planning to be anyway.

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Window Cleaning – a Dangerous Job

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Flood Proofing – NYC

Famous Apple store before Hurricane Sandy.121029074133-15-ny-braces-sandy-horizontal-large-gallery

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How to make your facade interesting?

Assorted ways of forcing pedestrians to take a picture.z14127174P,Tymczasem-w-Rosji---acid_picdump_76 construction_marasmus_02 construction_marasmus_08 construction_marasmus_38 construction_marasmus_39construction_marasmus_13only_in_russia_47 stairs_03there_i_fixed_it_26
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z14713076P acid_picdump_78an_air_conditioner_saved_chinese_boys_life_01 an_air_conditioner_saved_chinese_boys_life_02its_russiaenough_said_47

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When it Snows

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Antennae Attack

z14264094P,Tymczasem-w-Rosji--- its_russiaenough_said_13

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Wildlife Attacks in Most Unexpecting Ways!

The theft of a teddy bear.babboons_attack_04 babboons_attack_01 babboons_attack_02 babboons_attack_03

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Laundry Attacks Again!

only_in_russia_07

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How to quickly change your facade?

Just wrap it. This is what was done with an entire village in Soviet Union prior to an anticipated drivethrough by the President Putin.z14990779P,Czasy-sie-zmieniaja--ale-obyczaje-ewidentnie-zmian z15005942P

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Online Video-on-Demand

Case Study 1 - Thermal Analysis of a Curtain Wall Bay

I am currently in process of setting up the online video-on-demand system, which would make the facade engineering university videos available for an immediate download. It will require a paid site membership in order to view the videos.

The idea is to replace the current system of producing physical DVD discs, which are still available via our DVD website, and hopefully would speed up the process. The videos would be much shorter and focusing on one subject at the time. Both video resolutions are 640 x 480, which limited their sizes to the manageable size ~100MBs.  DVDs were  720 x 480 (NTSC), while the original size I use in my seminar slideshows is 1440 x 900.

I placed two videos for free download: two case studies, which are the part of the thermal engineering seminar; please kindly let us know how it worked out for you! They were recorded two years ago for the Thermal Engineering DVD, which I never had the time to finalize and publish. Since then, I refreshed the seminar, so the only part left is the case studies.

I also look forward to your suggestions regarding the pricing structure and the effective  means of protection against piracy. (The way we tackled this issue with DVDs was displaying the purchaser’s name and email address on the screen; however, it required burning them individually, elevating their cost.)

Another benefit that would accrue to all of us, is the existing DVD owners would get the membership to their DVDs free of charge, which would allow them the access to the updated versions, which are guaranteed to them free of charge for two years, and it would save me the trouble of sending them the updated DVDs.

Case Study 2 – 2D Thermal Analysis of a Mullion (length 11 minutes) It contains 29 slides, which constitutes roughly 8% of the entire Thermal Engineering Seminar.

This video describes the process of improvement of a horizontal mullion of a curtain wall, which was found substandard at the submittal stage. It shows a number of variations and their effects on the thermal performance.

Case Study 1 – 3D Thermal Analysis of a Curtain Wall Bay (length 7 minutes)  It contains 21 slides, which constitutes roughly 3% of the entire Thermal Engineering Seminar.

This famous case of a structural curtain wall was also described in my article published in JBED  in 2010.  Please fill the form below to receive this free PDF (It contains 4 pages,  size 0.5 MB).


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Update on 10/10/2013: To all of you who asked about the promised videos, we are still busily trying to find a working software to make it work, as you could see by recent testing messages inadvertently posted on our Facebook site. We already tried  two WP plugins (Wishlist Member plugin and WP Secure Player plugin, and spent days with their customer support, to no avail. Any suggestions as to the PPV VOD solution would be welcome.

 

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The Events Where I Will Speak This Year

Here is the schedule for the only  seminars I will give this year. As you can see, the actual number of  events more than doubled from what I expected originally:

1. Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - Greening Building Envelopes with Director Reid Morgan of FAU, Miami-Dade Building & Facility Maintenance Show in Miami:   www.MI-FM.com

2. July 9th, 10th, and 11th – Facade Engineering – in Gdynia, Poland,

3. July 29th, 30th, and 31st - Facade Engineering - in Santiago, Chile,

4. August 28th – Hot Glazing – in Nassau, Bahamas

5. Wednesday, September 11th. Red Hot Skins – Crafting the Thermal Envelope at the 2013 BEC-Colorado Annual Fall Seminar in Denver, Coloradohttp://aiacolorado.org/Events.aspx

 6. Thursday or Friday, November 7-8, 2013 - Greening Building Envelopes with Director Reid Morgan of FAU, South Florida  Building & Facility Maintenance Show in Fort Lauderdale, FL

7. November 15-17th - Facade Engineering - in Leba, Poland,

I must apologize to those, whose kind speaker invitations I refused this year. I became incredibly busy with my practice, and I still experience difficulties in my search for a qualified helper.

It’s much easier to find the time to give a webcast; therefore, I am always happy to schedule one.

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DIY- Reglazing with Polycarbonate

Single hung aluminum window reglazed with polycarbonate glass

Over one year ago I purchased a dilapidated house in Miami. Among many items that required repair, were broken windows. Seeing neighborhood kids throwing rocks at my windows, I realized that the ordinary glass wouldn’t do. I paid extra and reglazed them with polycarbonate glass. It’s something that I recommend to everyone: for approximately $100, you can make your window impact resistant by reglazing it with polycarbonate glass, and supplementing perimeter fastening. It won’t meet the official criteria of opening protection, but it would be in many respects better than a brand new, certified impact-resistant fenestration. For example: it won’t break when a kid throws a rock at it. [Read the rest of this entry...]

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Lesson to be learned from Eastern Architecture

Modern Indian ArchitectureImpressive Modern Architecture Impacted by Deconstructivism.

I just spent two weeks in an Eastern country. While sorting the 120GB of photos and videos taken there may easily take a year or so, I thought it would be interesting to share the early key observations. These items we often see in Western architecture as well; however, seldom with such intensity and clarity.

What helps is the assertiveness of the users and occupants of buildings, who clearly make their own statement about the performance of their facades by adding components improving their usefulness. It can help understand their needs and adjust the architecture to comfort them rather than fight them. Unfortunately, the Western architecture often lacks a honest feedback of this kind and therefore may continue to design oblivious to their users’ requirements.

[Read the rest of this entry...]

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Cladding Spalling

Facade Collapse

Facade cladding collapse as a result of corrosion of reinforcement. This kind of failure can be detected by safety inspections, which are mandatory in few jurisdictions. Source Fishki.net.

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UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) in services of the facade inspector.

Unmanned aerial vehicle can be used for facade inspections - Facade Doctor LLC

Unmanned aerial vehicle can be used for facade inspections.

Inspecting building facades is a risky business. I hang hundreds of feet above a ground on a rope thinner than my finger. Also, big overhangs and tall skylights are often not accessible at all. This is why I modified a popular remote-controlled toy drone to adapt it to the challenges of our trade. I have not heard of anyone else using unmanned aerial vehicles for forensic investigations of building enclosures, so i had to start from the scratch, by extending its range of flight, and adapting its sights.

[Read the rest of this entry...]

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Where Do You Want the Next Seminar?

I am getting many speaker invitations in spite of doubling my speaker’s fee this year (I already thanked the excellent Buckley School, for making me a more expressive speaker). However, the time is tight, so I may not be able to speak at more than two events this year.

This is why I need to poll you to find out where you want me to come: please kindly speak up.

The preference will be given to the places either 1) I have not been yet or 2) where I am going to be anyway or 3) the places I like.

This year according to my rough estimate, I will be: 1)in Ohio some time soon, 2) in India in March, 3) in New York City in April, 4)in Poland in June/July and 5)in South America in August, 6) in Colorado in September, 7) in Bahamas almost every week.

Please kindly indicate: 1) the location, and 2) the subject. Please kindly either pick the subject from the topics  listed in our Facade Engineering University or indicate a new one.

Shoot me an email at info@b-e-c(dot) info or post a comment below.

I promise I will carefully review the propositions and get back to you.

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Tools of the Trade – Photographic Equipment

curtain wall anchor

Picture is worth a thousand words: a curtain wall anchor with twisted serrated washers. (Twisted washers don’t offer sufficient wind resistance).

Picture is worth a thousand words. A good picture can also save a lot of nerves. A good photo of a construction defect or a facade failure is self-explanatory and often cuts unnecessary disputes before they even start. This is why I consider a camera to be my primary tool of  the trade.

Apparently, the photos illustrating my field reports stand out on their own, because one of the most often asked question I hear is “how did you take this photo?”

Several clients asked my advice on buying the photographic equipment, and I thought is would be good to share pro publico bono the one I gave recently. Here it is, below.

[Read the rest of this entry...]

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Digressions About The Language Gap

I recently found myself underestimating the language gap separating my compatriots.  This, coupled with their demonstrated overconfidence, resulted in awkward situations. Awkward for me, since I recommended them to my American associates.

The remainder of this post is in Polish, because it’s written for benefit of Polish speakers.

[Read the rest of this entry...]

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Movements And Tolerances In Curtain Wall And Cladding Design

Movements and Tolerances in Curtain Walls and Cladding

As difficult as it is to imagine, buildings move. Introduction of curtain walls gave the buildings even more freedom to move. The peaceful rigidity of bulky bearing walls and relatively short spans of oversized structural members belong to the past. Today’s buildings move a lot more.

In fact, the biggest single difference between curtain walls and windows punched in the load-bearing walls lies in the mechanisms that have to be implemented in curtain walls to accommodate the movements between both a cladding and a main building structure and among the cladding components themselves.

The movements are induced by same live load as in the past: users, wind, seismic, temperature and moisture fluctuations, with possible exception for mechanically (HVAC, elevators, etc) induced pressure differentials. The components of a modern building respond differently for several reasons. The material usage became more economical, yielding higher deflections; a thermal insulation isolated cladding from a body of the building yielding higher temperature differentials, the materials (metals and plastics) became more volatile themselves.

 Please fill the form below to receive this free PDF (It contains 21 figures, and 10 pages,  size 1.7 MB).

If you experience difficulties downloading this publication from here, you may try our old website download link.


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Update: Thank you for your kind feedback. There are some texts  (I.e. the discussion of Spearin doctrine) which seem to be favorite among our dear readers. This article seems to be liked by architects to the degree I heard it was used as a textbook in architectural college. You can help other readers by adding comments and recommending the best ones. It’s awkward for me to make this determination.

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In Support of Glazed Curtain Walls

In Support of Glazed Curtain Walls

Curtain wall supports are important to understand because they have a large impact on crucial architectural dimensions and perimeter transitions. [Read the rest of this entry...]

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Dew Point Analysis and Monitoring

The dew point meter in the exploratory opening and in the exterior wall affected by high humidity damage to interior millwork

It’s not always rain leakage, we find in our investigations as facade doctors. We sometimes find no traces of water intrusion, as opposed to water condensing inside, where it can damage moisture-sensitive materials, and contribute to microbial growth i.e. mold and mildew. In such a case, [Read the rest of this entry...]

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