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Insulation and the early building science researchersI’ve mentioned Bill Rose’s excellent book, Water in Buildings, in this space before, and it’s a wonderful resource. Chapter 3, “Water and Building Materials,” lays out the U.S. history of building science research spurred by the paint-peeling episode of those early adopters of insulation. RELATED ARTICLES Do I Need a Vapor Retarder?How Risky Is Cold OSB Wall Sheathing?Vapor Retarders and Vapor BarriersForget Vapor Diffusion — Stop the Air Leaks!Questions and Answers About Air BarriersQ&A Spotlight: Vapor Barriers Redux Vented Crawl Spaces and the Psychrometric Chart Are Not Friends Q&A: I have a problem with peeling paint Back in the 1930s, a rash of paint-peeling showed up across North America. One thing that most of these homes had in common was insulation in the walls. Painters put two and two together and decided that the problem was the insulation. According to building scientist Bill Rose, the painters surmised that the problem was happening because insulation “draws water,” and some refused to paint insulated houses.Now, I know what you’re thinking. Those painters didn’t want to paint insulated buildings because building science hadn’t been invented yet, and they thought the insulators were jumping the gun. Or was it that painters thought that stuffing the cavities with insulation was silly when all they needed was some good insulating paint? Then again, maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions here, as, it turns out, the proponents of insulated buildings did in their response to the painters’ revolt. Will the real culprit please stand up?Those early building scientists did some good research and advanced our knowledge of vapor diffusion and other building science topics. For example, Teesdale found that a material’s wetness is related to its temperature in what Rose calls the Fundamental Rule of Material Wetness: Cold materials tend to be wet and warm materials tend to be dry.They misfired, however, on the cause of the peeling paint. The industry, led by Teesdale, Rogers, and Rowley, focused almost entirely on moisture diffusion and the need for vapor barriers. (These are also the guys who gave us vented crawl spaces, but that’s another story.) Browne is the one who got it right, way back in 1933. Yes, he mentioned diffusion as one mechanism for the wetting of walls and peeling of paint, but he also called out “poor carpenter work or faulty design,” as Rose quotes him.That is, the bigger problem was bad flashing details, which allowed rainwater to get into the building assemblies — and then stay there. Before insulation, it didn’t matter so much because of the Fundamental Rule of Material Wetness. Uninsulated walls stayed warmer and thus dryer. With insulation in the walls, the cladding was colder and that meant it had less tolerance for bad flashing.Another factor more important than vapor diffusion is air leakage. Air moving through leaks in a wall can carry far more water vapor than diffusion allows. Dr. Joseph Lstiburek just wrote about this in his latest article at the Building Science Corp. website: “Air leakage was and is more important than vapor diffusion. Things have not changed.” It’s a great article about MacBeth and vapor barriers, and even though Joe is full of sound and fury, he’s not an idiot. Go read it.The moral of the story is not to jump to conclusions. We learned a lot about vapor diffusion, but our decades-long obsession with vapor barriers was counterproductive and hindered us from learning the more important lesson: It’s generally more important for building assemblies to be able to dry out than it is to prevent wetting by vapor diffusion.I’ll give the last word to Bill Rose on this topic: “Given the fact that a very small percentage of building problems (1 to 5% at most in the author’s experience) are associated with wetting by water vapor diffusion, the argument for enhanced drying potential becomes much stronger.” On the first page of that chapter, Rose outlines how a set of moisture management practices developed in the period from 1937 to 1942, and that’s pretty much how we’ve treated buildings ever since. I’ll abbreviate his six bullet points to three (since I’m not going to delve into profile analysis in this article):Insulated buildings can have moisture problems because the exterior cladding and sheathing stay colder.Water vapor from the indoor air diffuses through the wall and settles in the cold cladding and sheathing.Vapor barriers are the solution to the problem.It’s a fascinating history, and Rose goes into the details of the different people who advanced the theory of diffusion and vapor barriers, the papers they wrote, and nearly two full pages on the 1952 condensation conference. The big names of the early building science research were F.L. Browne, Larry V. Teesdale, T.S. Rogers, and Frank Rowley. (For more information on Teesdale, Rogers, and Rowley, see Do I Need a Vapor Retarder?)One of the most amusing parts of the story is how the National Paint and Varnish Association got involved and declared “War Against Water.” Figure 2 below shows thecover of one of the booklets they published in the early 1950s. Written near the beginning of the Cold War, the booklet villainizes moisture much the same as McCarthy maligned communists. For example:They seem innocent enough, these three pools of moisture: the milk from the bottle, the steam from the shower, the vapor rising from the whistling tea kettle. But are they? Oh, no… they’re up to no good. Where do they go from here? Believe it or not, they have an engagement. At the “dewpoint” — if you please.Yeah, we can laugh now, but back then building professionals and homeowners alike were practicing their duck-and-cover drills at the slightest hint of water vapor! Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.
Students in the Kashmir Valley continued protests for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, forcing the authorities to close down all 46 colleges for two more days. “Teaching work in all colleges of the Kashmir division will remain suspended on April 20 and 21 as a precautionary measure,” said a spokesman of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan.Class work was stopped in all colleges and a few schools in Srinagar on Monday after students clashed with the security forces, leaving dozens injured. The trigger was the alleged police excesses on students of Government Degree College, Pulwama on April 13, which left over 50 students injured.In fresh protests on Wednesday, students took to the streets in north and central Kashmir. “This is a grim situation. We are worried,” said a spokesman of the State Education Ministry. The ministry officials claimed that the decision to close down schools and colleges “is taken by the district administration after assessing the ground situation”.This year’s academic session, like in 2016, when five months were lost to the street agitation, is again staring at a blank. Sources said the government was mulling multiple measures, including barring circulation of videos on social media platforms to stop unrest in colleges. Separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, while strongly criticising the administration for “invading educational institutions and assaulting students,” called for solidarity protests on Friday.Meanwhile, the principal of Government Degree College, Pulwama, which is at the centre of the storm, was on Tuesday attached to the directorate office “till the inquiry is completed.”
Hungary’s Office of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) has estimated that the country was home to 3.2 million TV subscriber households at the end of November.The number is based on the figures that show the country’s top 12 service providers had 2.8 million TV subs between them. By the end of the month, the operators had attracted 1.6 million digital TV subs, representing 57.8% of total customers. That number is up from 57.6% a year earlier. The number of digital cable and IPTV subscribers was up to 677,000 from 662,000 the previous month, while digital DTH services were taken by 909,000 customers and 42,000 took DTT services from Antenna Hungary.UPC was the market leader in November, with a market share of 26.1%, followed by DIGI with a 23% share and T-Home with 22.2%.