Performance and Comfort for your Home or Office

Building Performance & Comfort, Inc. is a full service building performance-consulting company. Mr. Doug Garrett founded the firm in 1996 after working for ten years as the program manager for Austin Energy’s energy efficiency programs and four years in their Green Building Program. Building Performance & Comfort, Inc.’s services include forensic engineering testing and diagnosis, remediation plans and new home specifications, and building science based training seminars. We welcome you to our web site and hope that you find our information and services useful in resolving your problems and answering your questions.

If you are like most people, you have never heard of "building science" or the "building performance industry." Both fields grew out of the tremendous amount of scientific research that has been done over the last twenty-five years into how homes and buildings actually function. Most of this research has been conducted or at least funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Florida Solar and Energy Center and others.

The issues that spurred this search for the truth about our homes and buildings were the rapid increase in problems like the sick building syndrome and comfort complaints. Other concerns arose at the same time like health impacts of radon, the huge increases in energy costs, a doubling of childhood asthma, and the strong public support for concepts like sustainable buildings and the healthy home movement. The home building industry also found that as homes became tighter and more efficient, they were confronted with issues they had not seen before. This trend has only accelerated with the advent of code mandated changes like increased air sealing, and mechanical ventilation, along with new insulations, new and more complicated Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, and other challenges.

A review of the very limited research on which our codes and standard building practices were based would be funny if it were not so sad. Little or no physics based building related research was conducted at all until recently. Our codes and practices did not account for differences in climate or materials. We actually thought that there was a single “national best practice” that could be used from Minneapolis to Houston. Since we did not routinely install central heating and cooling equipment until the last thirty years in all areas of the country, its impact on how a building worked was unknown.

As is so often the way in life, when we actually did sound research into these issues, we found our cherished assumptions about how the house/building system worked were very limited, simplistic, and full of misconceptions and outright errors. What we assumed to be a "simple house or building" was shown to be a highly complicated and interactive system with cause and effect relationships that we never imagined.

The House Is A System

This field is now known as building science. The application of this research to diagnose and solve or better yet, avoid performance-related problems forms the basis of the building performance industry. Keeping abreast of this constantly changing industry is challenging, exciting, and keeps one on a constant learning curve. You will find that all of the poorly performing buildings and homes you have experienced can be diagnosed, explained and the failings resolved with the right instruments, forensic testing protocols, knowledge, and remediation measures.

Welcome to the multi-disciplinary field of applied building performance and forensic building science. To be really good in this field, one must understand the building or house from the building materials to indoor air quality, from ventilation airflow to heating and cooling design, and much more. A wide range of scientific testing equipment and knowledge of numerous testing procedures is also required. You will note when you review my experience and qualifications that I am competent in all of these areas. I combine decades of work in the building science, and energy efficiency fields with my years working in the Austin Green Building Program to offer a unique combination of engineering and sustainability knowledge. This knowledge and experience gives me a broad base on which to formulate a holistic remediation plan for an existing building or to design complete specifications that will function correctly together in a new structure. When I’m not working on fixing existing structures or ensuring that new ones function as they should, you will find me teaching others what I’ve learned over my twenty-five years of experience. It is both my passion and my mission to give others the benefit of what I’ve learned whether they are builders, architects, HVAC contractors, homeowners, or in the remodeling industry.