We want to put things in a box and know the solution. We want answers and we want them to solve the problems in front of us. Keep the questions straight forward, don’t make it complicated, solve the problem. We treat our symptoms and don’t spend time thinking about the cause. We want control and too much detail makes the problem unattainable. There are many people who are working on understanding Building Science. Some come from the energy efficiency side of things and are looking at ways to save energy. Some are coming from a product performance side and want you to buy their solution because it works best. Some are coming from a service side and understand there are so many factors that the perfect solution is different in every case.
Building Science is complicated. Every action causes a reaction. We have to take a step back and look at the larger issues and not just do one thing or the other. I talk about making buildings air tight and vapor permeable all the time. This is a hard fact for our building climate. However, with this you have to do many other things or you are creating other problems. If the house is too tight, then you have air quality problems. If you seal the crawl space and don’t make it positive pressure you are probably causing humidity issues. If you build tight and don’t understand the larger discussion, you will not have a durable long-lasting solution. While I do applaud those getting into the discussion and welcome their thoughts – we need more energy here – don’t slam others that have been working on it just to prop yourself up as an expert. There is plenty of bad information out there, but if it is taken out of context it looks bad and then is discounted. You have to look at the larger picture with all the solutions – if in fact you want real solutions and not just a treatment for the symptom.
I am the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers. I feel like I have many of the questions at this point, but the answers still need to be found, discussed, and perhaps even invented.