Building Science Fundamentals

Seminar Description

Building Science Fundamentals is a two-day seminar that teaches the basic knowledge needed to design and build durable, energy efficient, affordable and healthy buildings.

Dr. Joseph Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube will discuss building science principles (such as the control of heat, air and moisture and IAQ) and show you how to apply them to low-energy enclosure design, advanced HVAC systems, forensic investigations, and the repair and retrofit of existing buildings.

The Fundamentals class has been attended by over 1500 builders, architects, engineers, building science consultants, building code officials, facility managers, building product manufacturers and government officials.



Dates and Locations

May 29-30   Westford, MA
June 19-20   Washington, DC
July 17-18   Chicago, IL
September 18-19   Denver, CO


The registration fee for this seminar is $795USD.
The fee includes lunch but does not include travel or accommodations.


Day 1
Schedule Session
8:00 - 9:00 Historical Perspective

The evolution of building systems, enclosures, assemblies and materials
The role of disaster and failure in the evolution of building design
Why codes and regulations are reactive, not proactive

9:00 - 10:00 Environmental Separation

The purpose and historic basis of environmental separation:
• Appreciate the effect of climate on environmental loadings on building enclosures
• Enclosure design principles of energy efficient buildings.

10:15 - 11:15 Rain Control

Understanding rain as a design load
Rain control strategies
The consequences of failure ? control problems with brick, stucco, EIFS, manufactured stone veneer and curtain walls

11:15 - 12:15 Air Control

• Airflow control in terms of smoke, energy, durability, heath, and comfort
• Buildings as 3-D airflow networks
• Controlling pathways and pressures

1:15 - 2:15 Pressures and IAQ

Air quality problems in terms of people, pollutants, paths and pressure
Pollutant sources due to material breakdown caused by heat, moisture, and UV light
Diagnostic procedures for IAQ problems

2:15 - 3:15 Heat, Ar and Moisture Movement

• Mechanisms of heat, air, and moisture movement
• The role of heat, air and moisture in building failure
• Integrated design for the control of heat, air and moisture

3:30 - 4:30 Walls

Selecting appropriate enclosure wall systems for different climates and occupancies
Identifying critical elements
Avoiding stupid mistakes

4:30 - 5:00 Insulation and Thermal Bridges

• Using the thermal index for wall assemblies
• The temperature (not the heat loss) is key
• Interior and exterior insulating sheathings

Evening Session—Building Science Clinic
Day 2
Schedule Session
8:00 - 9:00 Roofs

How to select appropriate roof systems for different climates and occupancies
How to identify critical elements
Learning from past successes and failures

9:00 - 10:00 Foundations

• Understanding how to keep ground water and soil gas out of building foundations
• Environmental control for building assemblies
• The conflict between structural engineering approaches and environmental control approaches

10:15 - 11:00 HVAC

Understanding the primary function of HVAC
The effect of climate on HVAC design and operation
Understanding and managing the conflict between green architecture, IAQ and energy efficiency

11:00 - 12:00 Slabs and Flooring

• Vinyl composition flooring
• Wood and tile systems
• Negative side waterproofing

1:00 - 2:00 Windows and Curtainwalls

• Temperature index for windows
• Selecting windows and curtainwalls
• Glazing versus frames

2:00 - 3:00 Repair and Retrofit

Insulating mass buildings and freeze-thaw damage
Foundation retrofits
Interior and exterior enclosure repair approaches

3:00 - 3:30 Green Building and Sustainability

• Understanding the green architect as master builder
• What green typically means and what green should mean
• How green building and sustainability can either destroy or save architects

Reading Material

The reading material for the course is listed below. You are welcome to view or print all of them if you choose. You can find them by following the links below to our Building Science Information website.

Reading Material
Historical Perspective
BSD-005: Green Building and Sustainability html pdf (0.4 MB)
BSD-007: Historical Development of the Building html pdf (0.5 MB)
BSD-010: Looking at Tomorrow html pdf (0.1 MB)
BSD-011: Thermal Control in Buildings html pdf (0.3 MB)
BSD-013: Rain Control in Buildings html pdf (0.5 MB)
BSD-014: Air Flow Control in Buildings html pdf (1.1 MB)
BSD-018: The Building Enclosure html pdf (0.2 MB)
BSD-102: Understanding Attic Ventilation html pdf (3.4 MB)
BSD-103: Understanding Basements html pdf (1.2 MB)
BSD-104: Understanding Air Barriers html pdf (1.3 MB)
BSD-105: Understanding Drainage Planes html pdf (1.8 MB)
BSD-106: Understanding Vapor Barriers html pdf (3.7 MB)
BSD-107: Understanding Ventilation in Hot-Humid Climates html pdf (0.8 MB)
BSD-108: Investigating and Diagnosing Moisture Problems html pdf (1.4 MB)
BSD-109: Pressures in Buildings html pdf (3.7 MB)
BSD-110: HVAC in Multifamily Buildings html pdf (0.7 MB)
BSD-111: Flood and Hurricane Resistant Buildings html pdf (2.8 MB)
BSD-114: Interior Insulation Retrofits for Load-bearing Masonry Walls in Cold Climates html pdf (0.8 MB)
BSD-115: Wood Pitched Roof Construction html pdf (0.8 MB)
BSD-135: Ice Dams html pdf (0.6 MB)
BSD-138: Moisture and Materials html pdf (0.3 MB)
BSD-146: EIFS - Problems and Solutions html pdf (3.4 MB)
BSI-001: The Perfect Wall html pdf (1.3 MB)
BSI-002: The Hollow Building html pdf (1.9 MB)
BSI-003: Concrete Floor Problems html pdf (1 MB)
BSI-004: Drainage, Holes and Moderation html pdf (2.1 MB)
BSI-039: Five Things html pdf (0.3 MB)

Continuing Education

Building Science Corporation is a registered Continuing Education Provider for many building industry associations. Participants in our Building Science Fundamentals seminar can receive continuing education credits for the following associations:

AIA The American Institute of Architects is the voice of the architectural profession and the resource for its members in service to society. For more information, see

If you have any questions about the continuing education arrangements with any of our partners listed above, or you would like to add Building Science Corporation as a continuing education provider for your organization, please call us at 978-589-5100.