We have the capacity to build much better buildings. Buildings withdrew a fraction of the energy consumption. Buildings that require painting less than every 20 years. Buildings that don’t leak water, even in extreme conditions.But we don’t build many buildings like this. Instead we use a hodge-podge of glitzy new technologies and really poor techniques that result in not very robust or comfortable buildings. How did we get here?

It’s a complicated problem. One piece of the puzzle is consumer’s price-sensitivity in the face of complex technical problems. Consumers should pay more for buildings and expect higher performance. But this might be a small part of the problem. Whoever owns this ocean-front building will be faced with unnecessarily high risk of water leakage owing to the absence of sill dams. They will have to re-paint the house frequently, partly owing to the absence of a drainage gap beneath the cladding, and partly owing to the siding being unprimed prior to installation. Finally, the unprimed siding will trap water and bleed tannins into the water-resistive barrier, both if which will contribute to the premature failure of the barrier, which will increase the likelihood of water penetration.


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