Buildings as Machines or Systems

We seem to be a long way from the self-repairing building that would be the analog of the human body. Many have written about the building skin as analogous to the body skin, but remember: wound the building skin, and it will be a long time before it “heals”. Sure we have self sealing membranes under our shingles; but that is for nail holes, not tree limbs or bullets.

I always used to wonder at the great thermal numbers we got looking at log buildings until we realized that if you have air leakage, and air leakage used to amount to half a buildings heat loss, in a log building you usually could also see daylight. In a frame house the air leak can be 8 feet away on the outside wall from the outlet on the inside where the air pours in: try to trace that path and caulk it. With the log building the leak goes from in to out and you can cure it in an instant.


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