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Energy Efficiency Is Narrowing the Stupid/Hurt Gap

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in air leakage

The gap is narrowing. What gap, you ask? Why, the gap between stupid and hurt, of course. So says Dr. Joe Lstiburek. Allow me to explain.

Sometimes when you do something stupid, it hurts immediately. A toddler touches a hot kettle, for example, and instantly starts crying in pain. That's a learning experience.

If that pain didn't happen until an hour or a day had passed, however, the child would have a tough time learning not to touch hot kettles. Building or remodeling homes is a lot like that.

A Best Practices Manual That Can Help You with the Details

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in best practice

When I was building a home in 2001, I came up against a gazillion little things that I needed guidance on. I'd never built anything larger than a bookcase, so new home construction was quite a big step.

Early Bird Rates Still Apply For Allison Bailes’ Course

Posted on April 21,2015 by user-756436 in Allison Bailes

Fans of Allison Bailes' blogs who act soon can enroll in his upcoming interactive online course for only $895.

Allison Bailes to Teach an Interactive Online Class

Posted on April 21,2015 by user-756436 in Allison Bailes

Dr. Allison Bailes is a rarity: a physicist with a sense of humor. He's also a regular blogger on GBA. If you've enjoyed Allison's blogs over the years, and aren't intimidated by the prospect of homework and studying, you may be ready to take an online course from Dr. Bailes.

Do Homeowners Need to Understand Home Performance?

Posted on April 21,2015 by user-756436 in building code

My father was a college professor who was respected for his scholarship. Yet Dad doesn’t pay much attention to the physical world. If he were asked to define the stack effect, he’d probably guess that it was a type of exhaustion caused by walking past miles of library bookshelves. According to a family legend, the engine of our family’s Volkswagen van had to be rebuilt in 1963 because my father drove thousands of miles without checking the dipstick or changing the engine oil.

What Is Heat?

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in Building Science

While you slept last night, Santa Claus was putting his knowledge of physics to work. No, not with that silly anti-gravity stuff. Everyone knows the whole reindeer thing is just a cover for the way he really gets to all those houses in just one night. He uses one of the original Time Turners. In fact, Professor McGonagall got her first Time Turner from Santa himself.

Rainscreen Gaps and Igloos

Posted on April 21,2015 by user-756436 in Building Science

For the past 17 years, Joe Lstiburek and Betsy Pettit have hosted an annual conference, the Westford Symposium on Building Science, near their home in Massachusetts. Informally known as “summer camp,” the invitation-only gathering attracts hundreds of builders, engineers, architects, professors, and building science researchers. The attendees listen to presentations at a conference center during the day and relax in Joe and Betsy’s backyard during the evening.

An Interview with Dr. Joseph Lstiburek

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in air leakage

Dr. Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation is on a mission. The issue is residential ventilation. He contends that the residential ventilation standard, ASHRAE 62.2, ventilates at too high a rate, causing problems with humidity in hot or mixed humid climates, comfort and dryness in cold climates, and too much energy use everywhere. The 2013 version makes it worse.

Disseminating Building Science Knowledge

Posted on April 21,2015 by Ecovrn in Building Science

Each time I meet with the “choir” of sustainable builders or building scientists, I gain more knowledge and solidify the existing knowledge I have. The only problem is that the members of this choir are often fairly constant, and the tune we sing is the same: “How do we teach our song to the masses?” This isn’t a topic that should remain confined among a select few; we need energy savings, resource regeneration, and sustainability in all manners — now!

All About Climate Zones

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in Building Science

One of the fundamental principles of building science is that buildings must be suited to their climate. When they're not, problems can ensue. Maybe it's just that they're not as efficient as they should be. Maybe it's worse.

Green Building for Beginners

Posted on April 21,2015 by user-756436 in air leakage

Green building websites can be confusing. One site might tell you that a green home should include spray foam insulation, a tankless water heater, and a geothermal heating system. After you’ve absorbed this advice, you visit another website, where you learn that spray foam is a dangerous petrochemical, tankless water heaters are overpriced gadgets, and “geothermal” systems aren’t really geothermal.

Embarking on the Building Science Learning Curve

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in Building Science

I just returned from Arizona, where I spoke at this year's conference of the Structural Insulated Panel Association. Since the conference was in Tucson, I also took the opportunity to visit with my friend David Butler of Optimal Building Systems.

Listening In on Building Science Discussions in Maine

Posted on April 21,2015 by user-985308 in Building Science

Each month in Portland, Maine, a group of building professionals gathers for an evening of serious Building Science banter. The topic is either focused on a specific aspect of building science or opens up a lively discussion of what a Pretty Good House (PGH) would do in our cold climate of Maine. (For more information on the Building Science Discussion Group in Maine, check out the links in the "Related Articles" box, below.)

Should the Paper Facing of Batt Insulation Face the Inside or Outside?

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in Batt insulation

If you install fiberglass batt insulation* with a kraft paper vapor retarder in a home, which way do you face the vapor retarder? To the inside of the home or the outside of the home? For many building science questions, the answer is, “It depends.” For this one, however, the answer is clear.

SPOILER ALERT: The answer is in the next paragraph — so if you'd rather wait and find out when you see the movie in the theater, don't read any further.

Live Webcast of a Building Science Seminar

Posted on April 21,2015 by user-756436 in BSC

GBA has made arrangements to provide live video streaming of an educational seminar by two renowned building science experts, Joseph Lstiburek and John Straube. Dubbed the Building Science Experts' Session, the seminar is being held on Wednesday December 5 and Thursday December 6, 2012, in Westford, Massachusetts. Sessions begin each morning at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The video stream will be available at no charge to all GBA Pro members. A link to the live video stream will be added to this page on the morning of December 5, 2012.

‘Building Enclosure,’ Not ‘Building Envelope’

Posted on April 21,2015 by ab3 in building enclosure

When I wrote about the debate over the terms “building envelope” vs. “building enclosure” recently, I favored the former but overall felt agnostic on whether we should choose one over the other. I didn't think I'd change my mind.

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