Building Science

Questions for the Curious

  • Why do we put polyethylene (a form of plastic) sheeting in our walls and roofs?
  • Why are most windows manufactured today composed of two or more panes of glass?
  • Why are airplanes frequently painted white on top and have a metallic finish on the bottom?
  • Why do Toronto-area foundations typically extend at least 1.2m below ground?
  • Why do many tall office buildings require air conditioning for 8, 9, or even 10 months of the year?
  • Why are the doors on high-rise buildings typically hinged part-way along the width of the door, instead of at the edge of the door?
  • Why do residents in high-rise buildings sometimes have trouble getting fresh air when they open a window?
  • Why are more home runs hit on hot, muggy nights than on colder or dryer ones?
  • How can we dramatically reduce energy use in home design?


Research Feature


The answers to all of these questions, as well as many others, are all related to fundamental building science concepts.

Building science is the study of building materials, components, details, and construction methods with respect to the maintenance of the required temperature and moisture conditions of the interior of buildings.  Building science involves the understanding and application of fundamental concepts in physics, chemistry, and other branches of science to the problem of engineering effective, efficient, and economical building envelopes.

The Building Science Group focuses its research on improving cladding performance through innovative design strategies, as well as promoting good practice in both design and construction.  Research is focused on the avoidance of unacceptable effects on the materials of the building, or on its contents and occupants, due to variations or extremes in temperature or moisture, exposure to chemical or biological activity, aging, or solar radiation.

The Building Science Group stresses the importance of greater sustainability in building design given recent increases in fuel prices, as well as the need to preserve our environment for future generations.  The Building Sciences group works closely with both industry and government to help promote a healthier, more  sustainable future for our infrastructure.


 NameJob Title & DutiesContact Details
Haines, Sarah
Assistant Professor
  • Building Science

  • Office: GB 314C
    Lee, SeungjaeAssistant Professor
    • Building Science
    Office: GB 228
    Professor Kim PressnailPressnail, KimAssociate Professor Emeritus
    • Building Engineering
    • Building Science
    • Sustainable Infrastructure
    Office: GB 314A
    (416) 978-1501
    Professor Jeffrey SiegelSiegel, JeffreyProfessor
    • Building Engineering
    • Indoor Air Quality
    • Building Science
    Office: GB 314C
    (416) 978-7975

    Touchie Cropped-0750 hi-resTouchie, MarianneAssociate Professor
    • Building Engineering
    • Building Science
    Office: GB 314B

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