Session Number: PR-04

Thinking Through Water, Air, and Energy Issues in Historic Structures

William Turner, Professional Engineer

Turner Building Science & Design, LLC Harrison, Maine

Erin Gibbs, Training Manager, B.E.S.T. Preservation Workshops

National Park Service, Western Center for Historic Preservation

About this program:

Historic buildings were traditionally designed to manage the air, moisture, and energy moving through their materials and structure. When these systems are altered through a change in use, materials, or design, it can disrupt the relationship between these elements, causing unintended damage to historic fabric. While this damage is usually in the form of moisture problems, (especially in cold or humid climates) it cannot be addressed without first understanding air and energy as well.


This workshop is intended to provide attendees with an overview of the concepts of moisture, air, and energy dynamics as a starting point before examining how to effectively manage these in historic structures, or modify them for adaptive re-use. Attendees will learn how to identify the likely cause of existing deterioration as a function of air, water, and energy movement, how to potentially mitigate issues that have arisen as a result of poor interventions, and evaluate treatment strategies, both historic and modern, through the lens of building and occupant health and Federal Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

About the Presenter:

Bill Turner earned his B.S. and M.S. in engineering from Northeastern University in the 1970s. He served for 10 years on the research staff at Harvard University School of Public Health. Since 1986, Bill has focused on building science and energy efficiency, specializing in indoor air quality, moisture, geo heat exchange, sustainable building shell design, net-zero buildings, building commissioning, and forensic evaluations. His experience includes new buildings, modifications to existing buildings, and various energy systems, including hybrid solar geo-exchange and active energy recovery.

Erin Gibbs  - Training Manager for the National Park Service's Western Center for Historic Preservation, a program of the Historic Preservation Training Center. Her work includes the development and delivery of technical preservation workshops for traditional building materials and construction types. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics from Macalester College with an emphasis in Near Eastern archaeology and conservation considerations for archaeological sites.  She received her Master of Science degree in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015, where her research focused on the materials and technology used in historic and archaeological structures, their pathology, and treatment. Erin has trained and worked in the practical conservation of heritage resources with the Israel Museum, Israel Antiquities Authority, and Restoric LLC in Chicago IL. She is currently based out of Grand Teton National Park where she enjoys applying her skills to the preservation of historic and prehistoric resources on public lands.

Program Level: Intermediate

Content Area(s): Building Design & Construction (including Green), Occupant Health/Medical Issues, Energy Efficiency, High Performance Buildings, Investigations, Testing & Research