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Construction Industry Opinion

What is Building Physics? A brief explainer


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What is Building Physics? A brief explainer


"The objectives of building physics are usually to help design buildings which are comfortable, energy efficient, and healthy."
Toby Cambray, Founding Director, Greengauge



Building Physics is the study of the movement of heat and moisture in buildings.

The objectives are usually to help design buildings which are comfortable, energy efficient, and healthy.

This involves using a variety of simulation and calculation tools to understand and predict the behaviour of whole buildings, sub-assemblies and specific materials in terms of heat and moisture, and where the results are not acceptable, to support design teams to improve or refine their proposals.

The UK building regulations incorporate several requirements that are assessed using some element of building physics, in particular Part L where whole-building models are used to assess the energy efficiency and carbon emissions before a building is constructed, and Part C where calculations or simulations are used to avoid the accumulation of moisture.

The Passivhaus methodology is strongly underpinned by building physics.

But building physics is not just about desk-top theory – it’s about a deep understanding of how buildings new and old are put together.  

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