This all started with a simple email sent by me to two summer interns at Charles Hilton Architects in Greenwich, CT. I was the in-house building scientist and one of my responsibilities was to try to help the intern architects learn more about construction, constructability, building science, and the like. I hope you like what it’s evolved into.

Why does my hot tub cover get heavier over time?

By Foster Lyons | June 11, 2018

Hey, I’ve got an idea. How about we reduce our carbon footprint just in case it helps with that global warming thing. I propose we take a tiny little bit of that foul crude oil and use it against itself – sort of like Darth Vader turning on the Rebel Alliance. We’ll process just a…

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Infra-Red Light and Low-e Glass

By Foster Lyons | July 1, 2018

This week’s question: Why does my fireplace and chimney make that crazy howling sound on windy nights? Last week’s question: What’s going on in this photo? Answer: That’s an image of an infra-red electromagnetic wave reflection off the inside of a window. And the camera man is wearing a hard hat. According to Plutarch[1], old…

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Singing Chimneys

By Foster Lyons | July 8, 2018

This week’s question: Is there a preferred way to build and operate a meat aging room? Last week’s question: Why does my fireplace and chimney make that crazy howling sound on windy nights? Vitruvius was a well-known blogger during the Roman era and some of the things he wrote about are still interesting today. For…

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Why, then, should we use ornament?

By Foster Lyons | July 25, 2018

Answer: Because, we like it, and, sometimes it has a functional purpose. Lots of stuff goes out of use but stays in fashion. There is a historical reason for this hood ornament[1], but, these days, the car would be perfectly functional without it. It just wouldn’t be a Rolls Royce. It’s sort of like the…

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By Foster Lyons | September 3, 2018

By Foster Lyons.  August 19, 2018 Asphalt, macadam, black-top?  Which one should I specify? And, is tarmac only for airport runways? First, it’s ass-fault, not ash-fault and, not az-fault.  Very humorous for sixth graders.  Ash-fault is for Canadians and paving contractors in Queens and some parts of Westchester County. Are those jimmies, sprinkles or shots?…

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Excess Water of Construction

By Foster Lyons | October 15, 2018

Parallel lines have so much in common.  It’s a shame they never get to meet. How much excess water is still in a house at the end of the building process when you turn over the keys to the new homeowner? Dynamic problems – problems whose outcome changes as time progresses – are fun, but,…

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