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The Building Science Advisor: Providing expert advice on building envelope systems

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
Thermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Whole Buildings XIV International Conference
Publication Date
Page Numbers
48 to 58
Conference Name
2019 Buildings XIV International Conference
Conference Location
Clearwater Beach, Florida, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Conference Date

The overall performance of an envelope component such as a wall or roof is difficult to predict. Thermal and moisture performance depend on the combination of materials used in the structure, thermal bridges, individual materials, construction workmanship, climate, orientation, air tightness, and indoor conditions. Modern building codes are requiring more insulation and tighter construction to enable energy efficient buildings but provide little guidance about how to ensure these assemblies remain moisture durable. Furthermore, as new products and materials are introduced, builders are increasingly uncertain about the long-term durability of their building envelope designs.
The Building Science Advisor (BSA) is a rule-based expert system webtool that is free for anyone to use and guides the user in selecting energy efficient and moisture durable wall designs tailored for their specific climate. The current state of the tool required the combination of expert opinion and hygrothermal simulations and a clever grouping of building materials into different material property categories to build a concise rule-based database. We will present how this was accomplished as well as and different use cases of the tool. Then we will outline new features that will be added to the BSA such as adding probabilistic hygrothermal simulation results for walls that experts have little experience with and the expansion of the tool to include retrofit capabilities.