Quit Worrying about Dew Point!

In this one-hour presentation, Christine Williamson provides architects and architects in training with a more useful framework for evaluating condensation risk in walls and roofs, giving them the tools to understand the risk level of a proposed wall or roof assembly without ever having to run a dew-point calculation or hygrothermal model.

Receive 1.5 American Institute of Architects continuing education credits while you learn

Dew point is the least useful and most confusing tool for understanding vapor control in architectural design, yet the term is positively inescapable. Proposing alterations to a wall or roof assembly turns into a Where’s Waldo? game of locating the dew point and figuring out where our changes might be moving it. But our real concern isn’t the location of the dew point—our concern is controlling condensation so that our walls and roofs don’t rot. Condensation occurs only where there is a relatively cool surface (think: cold beer, warm day), and, for that reason, there are three – and only three – ways to control condensation: (1) we can warm the condensing surface, (2) we can prevent moisture (especially moisture-laden air) from reaching the cold surface, or (3) we can remove moisture from the environment. Most often, we will rely on some combination of those approaches.

After attending this presentation, participants should be able to:
Describe the two primary concerns in building-enclosure design
Describe the three approaches to condensation control in wall and roof design
Articulate the connection between condensation control and the vapor permeance of building materials
Identify specific commonly proposed design changes to a standard cavity-insulated residential wall that would make it more risky or less risky from a condensation-control perspective

Quit Worrying about Dew Point!

Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is this course and are there any prerequisites?
The subject matter itself is challenging and certainly requires an engaged mind! But the only prerequisites are a general familiarity with the way architectural firms are organized and an understanding of standard architectural conventions of representation: how to make sense of plans, sections, and elevations.
What if I’m not an architect or architect-in-training?
You are of course very welcome to take the classes anyway and will certainly benefit from it! That said, the course presumes that participants are able to read architectural drawings. Most builders will be very comfortable with the subject matter and how it is presented.
Is this class appropriate for architects practicing outside of North America?
Physics is the same everywhere, but building practices are not. This class is tailored for a North American audience.
How long is this course?
The course on dew point is about an hour. It is offered lecture-style and you may take it on-demand whenever you wish (and as many times as you wish). There is also an accompanying course packet that you may download. The course packet contains a written summary of the material presented, plus all of the images and photos shown in the video.
Do you offer student discounts?
No. These courses are an investment... and they're a good one! The courses are designed not just to help you now, but also to serve as a resource and a reference throughout your career. (And anyway we're all students!)
Is it okay if I share my login credentials with a friend so that we can take the course together?
No. The course cost covers a single user. Sharing your login credentials is stealing.
But what if I really prefer to learn in a group setting?
I would be very happy to prepare a custom course just for you! My rates start at $5,000 for a day-long course. Email me at buildingsciencefightclub@gmail.com for more information.
How do I get AIA credit for the classes?
Your information will be submitted to the AIA after you complete a short series of multiple choice “summative assessment questions” after each session. You must answer 70 percent of the questions correctly to pass. (But don’t stress about this: The classes and the handouts prepare you very well for the quizzes, and there’s no limit on taking or retaking them).
Is this course on dew point suitable for both residential and commercial designers?
Yes, the principles of building science apply equally to residential and commercial architecture, and the examples and details presented draw from both.
Is there a time limit to taking the classes?
The videos are on-demand, so you can take them on your own schedule, and you may take them as many times as you want. They are approved for AIA continuing education credit through October 2023.
Can I watch the videos when I'm not connected to the Internet?
No. The videos can only be streamed with an Internet connection. However, each video is accompanied by a downloadable PDF course packet that includes a written summary of the technical material as well as all of the drawings and illustrations from the video. These can be used offline for reference and reinforcement.
Do you offer group discounts?
No. There is a group discount for Building Science for Architects, but not for any of the shorter classes. The price is just the price.
Can I purchase a multiple-user license so that a group can take the course at the same time?
These courses are designed for individual learning. And they're designed to be a reference that you return to throughout your career as particular concepts become newly relevant with new projects. Your login credentials are for you, and you alone. That said, lots of small groups take these courses “together” on the same schedule and meet offline to discuss them. Kind of like a book club. The course packet can be used to facilitate group discussion by serving as an outline to guide the conversation.