Building Science 101

To provide a technical definition of our operational foundation, building science is the analysis and consideration of the materials and systems of a building as they interact with their environment, while providing an intended level of performance to occupants and stakeholders.

In short, it is the awareness that the way a building is constructed and the way it performs are inextricably connected. Understanding that, we are committed to applying the latest innovations to your unique needs within a particular space to optimize the comfort and value of time spent there.

High Performance Spaces

Over the years, building structures to the highest standards of excellence, comfort and value, we’ve seen the immediate impact construction innovation can have on quality of life for clients of every kind. Whether it’s a family home in the mountains or an office building in the Midwest, the effortless beauty and tangible comfort of a space designed and built to uniquely suit its purpose in that specific location is an undeniable joy. In comfort and cost savings both, attention to detail yields rich dividends.

As an example of what technologies like Net Zero building can mean in real returns, consider The Rocky Mountain Institute’s new $13.67 million net zero headquarters. RMI eliminated central heating and cooling systems in favor of lower impact temperature control features like optimum window placement, automatic fresh air ventilation, and heated office chairs rather than wasteful space heaters. They incorporated forward-thinking design, high-efficiency building materials, and premium finishes throughout the space. As a result, costs only increased by about 10% compared to a traditional building in the same place. Due to reduced energy and maintenance costs and projected increases in employee productivity from the new efficiency and comfort of these features, these proud innovators will see full ROI in just four years.

Projects like these set the standard for what’s possible. TRU Building is ready to guide you through the myriad options available on today’s construction market to make sure you’re building with the best.

Industry Terms

There are four basic levels of energy efficiency standardization for residential and commercial construction. Tru Building performs at the highest level with Passive House and Net Zero certifications for both residential and commercial construction. When deciding how to approach your project, it’s important to be informed about your options.

Passivhaus & Net Zero

The German Passivhaus Institut, or Passive House, sets a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency that results in ultra low-energy buildings. By integrating energy-saving features with a building’s architectural design, Passive building reduces the demand for, and cost of, non-renewable energy resources.

A step beyond Passive, Net Zero, or zero-energy, buildings completely cancel out the amount of energy they consume. Balancing the total energy consumed on an annual basis with the amount of renewable energy created on the site or contributed back to the system elsewhere, these buildings function with the lowest possible energy footprint.

HERS Scores

The Home Energy rating Systems Index is the industry standard for evaluating a home’s energy efficiency. Features like the foundation and roof, walls, ceilings, doors, windows and ductwork are all evaluated and compared to an index of similar homes to establish a score, with lower ratings indicating greater efficiency. Knowing a home’s score can help evaluate energy strengths and weaknesses as well as identify possible areas for improvement, and may be useful in selling or remodeling a home.

LEED Certification

LEED green building certification recognizes Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and assigns credits toward silver, gold or platinum certification based on detailed documentation of design and construction elements. Research is inconclusive that these credits correlate to increased savings or reduced emissions, and many aspects—such as location, land disturbance, surrounding neighborhood density—are unrelated to individual building performance.

Energy Star

Energy Star certification ranks residential and commercial buildings on a 100 point scale informed by their energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Once data is verified by a professional engineer or registered architect, buildings scoring 75 or higher are eligible for certification. Energy Star homes use at least 15% less energy than standard homes built to 2003 International Residential Code.

Insulation

Good insulation is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to invest in the efficiency of your building. However, simply insulating a space without holistically considering its design, function, location and overall energy performance is not much of an improvement on standard construction practices. Retrofitting an existing space can be costly and inconvenient.

Resources & Links

Round out your research on the highest quality construction methods, healthiest environmental practices, and maximum savings with these featured resources.