Chapter f01: Preface

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Preface XIII Until the first energy crisis of 1973, building physics was a dormant beauty within building engineering, with seemingly limited applicability in practice. While soil mechanics, structural mechanics, building materials, building construction and HVAC were perceived as essential, designers only demanded advice on room acoustics, moisture tolerance, summer comfort or lighting when really needed or in case problems arose. Energy was of no concern, while thermal comfort and indoor environmental quality were presumably guaranteed thanks to infiltration, window operation and the HVAC system. The energy crises of the 1970s, persisting moisture problems, complaints about sick buildings, thermal, visual and olfactory discomfort, and the move towards greater sustainability changed all this. Societal pressure to diminish energy consumption without degrading building usability activated the notion of performance-based design and construction. As a result, building physics and its potential to quantify performance moved to the front line of building innovation. As for all engineering sciences, building physics is oriented towards application. This demands a sound knowledge of the basics in each of its branches: heat and mass transfer, acoustics, lighting, energy and indoor environmental quality. Integrating the basics on heat and mass transfer is the main objective of this book, with mass limited to air, (water) vapour and moisture. It is the result of 38 years of teaching architectural, building and civil engineers, coupled with some 50 years of experience in research and consultancy. Where needed, information and literature from international sources has been used, which is why each chapter concludes with an extended reading list. In an introductory chapter, building physics is presented as a discipline. The first chapter then concentrates on heat transport, with conduction, convection and radiation as main topics, followed by concepts and applications typical for building physics. The second chapter treats mass transport, with air, vapour and moisture as main components. Again, much attention is devoted to the concepts and applications related to buildings. The last chapter discusses combined heat, air and moisture transport. All three chapters are followed by exercises. The book uses SI units. It should be suitable for those undertaking undergraduate and graduate studies in architectural and building engineering, although mechanical engineers, studying HVAC, and practising building engineers who want to refresh their knowledge, may also benefit. It is presumed that the reader has a sound knowledge of calculus and differential equations, along with a background in physics, thermodynamics, hydraulics, building materials and building construction.


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