Archive for the ‘NEBSI’ Category

NEBSI & System Dynamics

October 26, 2017

We like to say that, “A house is a system”.  If you change one thing in a system, something else is likely to change.  It’s not always something that you are expecting to change.  The spotlight over the sink in the kitchen may generate enough heat on the surface of the roof above to melt the snow. The water runs down the roof and freezes, creating an ice dam.  The water backs up under the shingles and runs down inside the wall cavity and shows up in the basement.

Consider the house as a thermal system.  When it’s colder outside than it is inside, the house loses heat and cools.  It will continue to cool until the inside temperature reaches the outside temperature.  The regulator is the ability of the structure to resist the flow of heat.  A heating sVensim House Temp1ource in the house moderates the flow. The loops in the system can be modelled mathematically; each loop impacts the others in a model that can be increasingly complex as details are added.

Consider the occupants in a house.  If you consider their health as similar to the temperature, if there is carbon monoxide in the house, the more CO the more dangerous the environment.  The system loop is simple to predict – the more CO the more impact.  The cause of the CO is the driver of the loop.  Determining the cause of the CO requires knowledge of what creates CO.  The analyst who determines the cause needs to be trained.  The more knowledgeable the analyst the more the correct cause will be determined.

The loops continue to flow out, driving just this one aspect of the health in a house.  The occupants need to understand that they should not take the batteries out of the CO detector.  The code officials need to know that CO can be caused in a house and enact legislation that CO detectors are required.  Code officials have to confirm that the regulations have been complied with.  Insurance companies need to know that the occupants of the house won’t be at risk.

All of these complex loops can be modelled so that the system can be made understandable, any missing elements determined, and the most important points highlighted.  Where would more training make the most impact?  The more participants who understand the systems, the greater the impact on making homes safer, more comfortable, more affordable, more desirable, healthier, and more energy efficient.

The NorthEast Building Science Institute (NEBSI) is based on developing such understanding and making the connections and improving the system.

NorthEast Building Science Institute (NEBSI)

Systems Dynamics Society

Advertisements