How Buildings Work

In the huge range of temperatures which the universe offers we can survive in only a narrow range and are comfortable in an even narrower one. Our eyes can perceive a limited band of the electromagnetic spectrum, and exposure to other parts the spectrum are harmful. We can see by sunlight and moonlight, but not by starlight.

Not surprisingly, we construct and operate our buildings to address those limitations as best we can. I am not, primarily, thinking of questions of why buildings are the way they are: there are plenty of books dealing with power structures, cultural imperatives and aesthetics. I am interested in the fundamentals of shelter, security and well-being, which we strive to achieve through the interaction of three things: human physiology, buildings and building physics.

(from the Preface)

How Buildings Work (available December 2016) is an introduction to building physics which considers how to use the principles of physics to construct comfortable, energy efficient buildings.

Each chapter introduces one of the key themes of building physics, relating the physical phenomena to the needs of the human occupants of buildings, namely:

  • heat
  • air
  • moisture
  • sound
  • light.

How Buildings Work is available from RIBA Bookshops