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October 01, 2011

Monitoring as a Tool for Fine-Tuning

Architecture Week published an excerpt from our monograph titled Inquiry, authored by Stephen Kieran, James Timberlake, and Karl Wallick, about the philosophy of continual “tuning,” or making adjustments, in design practice. The practice of monitoring, both pre-project and post-occupancy, emerges from the belief that architecture is in need of constant adjustment and should never become static.

Tuning a Building at KieranTimberlake 
by Stephen Kieran, James Timberlake, and Karl Wallick 
 
At KieranTimberlake, we frequently conduct postoccupancy building monitoring to verify the performance of our buildings. Preproject monitoring services are used to diagnose and treat existing buildings.  
 
A monitoring program preceded renovation work at Yale University's Sage Bowers Hall, a 1920s-era classroom and office building. The study compared existing uninsulated construction with mock-ups that added new insulation and energy-efficient window assemblies.  
 
We sought data to answer the following questions: How much energy is lost through the wall? Is the dew point reached in the modified or unmodified wall assemblies? Does the indoor ambient room temperature exceed thermal comfort levels? How does the modified window compare to the unmodified window in keeping the room comfortable?  
 
Data from this project may inform other renovation projects on the campus. Given current and emerging energy paradigms, it is no longer tenable to compensate for underperforming solid masonry walls and single-glazed windows by overheating.  
 
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