The Building Envelope

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Everyday Engineering - Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life
Look around you. Great masterpieces of engineering are everywhere. As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, you are putting centuries of scientific and mechanical ingenuity to use. So familiar are these structures, inventions, and services that they are all but invisible. Yet they are just as…
Home Energy Efficiency
Episode 18 of Everyday Engineering
Delve into the green building movement, which promotes structures that use natural resources more efficiently while reducing environmental impact. Focus on minimizing energy consumption through a well-insulated, airtight building envelope; energy-efficient windows and doors; and energy-efficient HVAC systems and appliances.
Platform-Framed Housing Construction
Episode 4 of Everyday Engineering
Turn to the third major technique for building a house: platform-framed construction, which is a flexible arrangement of lightweight modular floor platforms, wall panels, and roof trusses. This efficient approach has been widely used in the U.S. for over a century.
Engineering and Technology in Your World
Episode 1 of Everyday Engineering
Start the course by considering how engineering and technology influence your daily life--not just high-tech devices but also ordinary machines, buildings, and infrastructure that most people take for granted. In this lecture series you will learn to notice and understand these overlooked marvels.
Joseph Doutaz & Olivier Veuve, Shingle-makers
The "tavillonneur" or shingle-maker cuts out and fits shingles or wood tiles into place. Shingles (called "tavillons" in Switzerland), are one of the oldest methods of roofing or covering an outside wall. There are no longer any official apprenticeships. The film follows two shingle-makers, Joseph Doutaz and Olivier Veuve, who…
The Great Skyscraper Race
The human aspiration to build upward reaches its climax with the skyscraper. Learn the story behind America's great skyscraper race and the increasingly sophisticated buildings it produced. Among the structural masterpieces you examine in depth are the Wainwright Building, the Chrysler Building, the Willis Tower, and the World Trade Center…
Everyday Thermodynamics: Refrigeration
Episode 16 of Everyday Engineering
Unravel the secret of refrigeration by focusing on the connection between heat, temperature, work, and energy. Then see how these thermodynamic concepts apply to the vapor-compression cycle in your refrigerator or air conditioner. Discover that a heat pump operates the same way.
Site Design and Storm Runoff
Episode 6 of Everyday Engineering
What happens to the precipitation that falls on your house, your lot, and your neighbors' properties? Study the problem of site design, focusing on how storm runoff is directed away from homes and returned to a natural watercourse, without causing flooding along the way.
The Rise of Iron- and Steel-Framed Buildings
How did iron and steel revolutionize building design? Find out in this trip back to late 18th- and early 19th-century Europe and America, where iron-framed structures: such as sheds at England's Chatham Dockyard, New York City's Equitable Life Insurance Building, and Chicago's First Leiter Building: would set the stage for…
Your House as an Engineered System
Episode 2 of Everyday Engineering
In the first of four lectures on your house as a technological system, review the eight engineered subsystems that go into modern dwellings. Then discover the miracle of building codes, which ensure that every new house is safe, constructible, and reasonably economical without involving an engineer in each design.
Three Structural Systems for Load Bearing
Episode 3 of Everyday Engineering
Examine one of the most important aspects of modern building codes: the design of a house for structural load carrying. Focus on two of the three major approaches to this crucial function: bearing wall construction and heavy timber frame construction. Both have been used for thousands of years.
Tunnel Engineering
Episode 33 of Everyday Engineering
Delve into tunnel engineering, a discipline every bit as impressive as bridge building, only less visible. Consider the challenges presented by the type of soil or rock being excavated for a tunnel, marvel at the work of mammoth tunnel boring machines, and weigh the tradeoffs between tunnels versus bridges.