Henry Gifford is what is known as a building scientist: He studies how buildings work and, just as important, why some don’t. He has written and published a remarkable book called , with nearly 600 full-color pages stuffed with information, infrared photography, diagrams, and—the best part—quizzes to test your knowledge.
Like this one: Why is moss growing on only one part of the wall pictured at left? Hint: This photo was taken in the winter. (For the answer, scroll down to the bottom.)
The book is as beautiful as it is exhaustive, covering airflow, water, light, sound, fire, pests, ventilation, air quality, and a lot more. You’ll learn how fire causes buildings to collapse; the best placement for pipes to avoid freezing; where your house might have thermal bridges that suck outside temperatures in; and the best shade style to let the sun heat your home in the winter, but not in the summer. You’ll worry at first that you didn’t know all this before, and you’ll be grateful that you do now.
Answer: The green part of the wall is not protected from water by the roof, and there is no warm house behind that part of the wall to heat and dry the moisture.
This story appears in the May 2018 issue of Seniorhelpline.