French physicist Sadi Carnot wrote in 1824 that given enough time, all systems tend toward equilibrium – no hot, no cold, just lukewarm throughout. It’s inevitable, said the science world, and entropy theory became a cornerstone of modern thermodynamics.
Well, no disrespect to the 2nd Law or the irreversibility of nature, but we’ve got some pretty clever ways to see that hot and cold are separate – for a long, long time. Come freezing temperatures and Rocky Mountain blizzards outside, your building stays nice and cozy on the inside. All winter long. (Sorry, Mr. Carnot.)
Adding insult to injury – at least if you’re a deceased French physicist – we’ve pulled off this feat of energy conservation using, well, science. For example, by knowing that all types of fiberglass lose their R-value of insulation at temperatures below freezing, due to convective heat loss and cold-induced air circulation, we were able to propose a better solution.
By studying the formation of moisture and mold within wall cavities, we found ways to prevent it from happening. And by taking a look at existing technologies for insulating buildings and tirelessly researching alternate methods, we’ve been able to keep the construction world from going stagnant as well. Not bad, if we do say so ourselves.