January 2019 Monthly Meeting

Jan 8 2019 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Meeting Title: 

Building Science in Old Buildings


Aceh Community Room
Mercy Corps, 45 SW Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97204


Sarah Gray, PE

Dave Young, PE


The materials and systems used in buildings have changed dramatically over time. Understanding how old buildings work from a building science perspective will lead to better maintenance and retrofit decisions. Sarah Gray and David Young will discuss how traditional materials and construction practices managed heat transfer, air flow, vapor diffusion and moisture absorption in old buildings. We will also discuss how performance can be maintained or improved. Case study examples will illustrate challenges and solutions for old buildings.

Sarah Gray is Principal with RDH Building Science Inc. and has been based in Toronto for over 15 years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work is focused on heritage building rehabilitation, existing building condition assessment and renewal, and building enclosure consulting for new construction. She serves as a peer reviewer for the Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin and has taught building science courses at the University of Toronto. Sarah was awarded a 2010 Craftsman Award from the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals for work at the Confederation Life Building in Toronto.

David Young is Principal with RDH Building Science Inc. Dave specializes in building enclosure consulting for both new and existing construction. His experience and expertise in historic building enclosures spans close to 30 years and includes work on the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa and the University of British Columbia Main Library.

One of Dave’s focus areas is to make historic buildings better by incorporating new enclosure technologies without changing the original aesthetics. This includes implementing moisture control, thermal improvements, and air tightness strategies, while reinstating original materials. This approach was used on the 100-year-old Oregon College of Oriental Medicine building in Portland, where corroded steel lintels above the windows were removed. The steel lintels were cleaned and protected, then reinstalled to create a new rainscreen cavity behind the brick veneer over the windows. The 3-wythe mass masonry wall above the lintels remained intact.