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Pearls of Wisdom From Recent Conferences

Pithy quotes from presenters at Better Buildings By Design, Building Energy, and Greenprints

Posted on Mar 15 2013 by Martin Holladay

There are lots of reasons to attend conferences. At a good conference, we get a chance to network with colleagues, to learn about recent research, to see new products, and to talk with manufacturers' reps. I've had the good fortune, over the last six weeks, to attend three conferences focusing on green building and residential energy:

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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay
  2. Greg Brough, Southface
  3. Karyn Patno
  4. Matthew Cavanaugh

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Mechanical Systems for Low-Load Buildings

At the Building Science Experts’ Session, Dr. John Straube presented an amazingly comprehensive overview of the challenges posed by high-performance buildings

Posted on Dec 26 2012 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD

Professor John Straube spoke for a whole day at the Building Science Corporation's Experts' Session earlier this month. His topic, a good one for readers, was mechanical systems for low-load buildings.

You know that expression about how the information comes at you so fast in some classes that it's like drinking from a firehose? With Professor Straube, it's like trying to drink from a tsunami! The guy has not only a phenomenal knowledge but he's also a fantastic teacher and incredibly witty.

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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Live Webcast of a Building Science Seminar

GBA Pro members can watch two days of instruction from Joseph Lstiburek and John Straube

Posted on Dec 4 2012 by Martin Holladay 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.

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Air Leakage Degrades the Thermal Performance of Walls

No surprises here — but testing by the Building Science Corporation begins to quantify the problem

Posted on Sep 28 2012 by Martin Holladay

For the past five years, researchers at the Building Science Corporation (BSC) in Massachusetts have been testing the thermal performance of a variety of wall assemblies as part of an ambitious project to develop a new metric to replace R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. . (I last reported on the project in my August 2011 article, A Bold Attempt to Slay R-Value.)

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The Green Architects Chat With John Straube

The renowned Canadian professor shares his views of building science and green building

Posted on May 14 2012 by Christopher Briley

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Phil and I have long been fans of building science guru John Straube. So we were very pleased to have him as a guest on our podcast, and to bend his ear a bit on some of his views on green building.

Unfortunately, because we were unable to schedule a good time to record during the evening, we recorded in the morning. So the live libation of cocktails is absent from this episode. Sadly, the satisfying clink of our glasses has been replaced with a pathetic clunk of our coffee mugs. But not to worry—we've still managed to maintain our casual demeanor and include a cocktail and a song.

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A Recap of ACI’s 2012 National Conference

Heat-pump water heaters, Pecha Kucha, quotable quotes, and more

Posted on Apr 9 2012 by Carl Seville

The 2012 ACI National Home Performance Conference was held in Baltimore at the end of March, and was yet again another marathon geekfest. With almost twenty concurrent sessions running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by more sessions lasting until 8 p.m., it is a feat of endurance to attend this almost week-long event.

This year there appeared to be an underground movement (Twitter handle: #ACIafterdark) that threw late-night parties, although I never managed to figure out where they were.

Heat-pump water heaters

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Image Credits:

  1. Darrel Tenter

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John Straube Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

Straube is recognized for his commitment to helping industry professionals understand buildings and their materials from the ground up, inside and out

Posted on Feb 21 2012 by Richard Defendorf

If you do a search using the name John Straube on the GreenBuildingAdvisor website, you’ll notice that the search tool pulls at least 138 entries from the database. That’s one measure of Straube's stature as a trusted voice in the building industry, particularly in the green building industry.

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Image Credits:

  1. Building Science Corporation

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Pro/Con: Does Passivhaus Make Sense Over Here?

Three North American experts weigh in on applying a German energy efficiency standard across our broad climate zones

Posted on Oct 14 2009 by Martin Holladay

John Straube, a prominent building science professor and a principal of the Building Science Corporation in Westford, Mass., asserts that applying the German PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard to North American houses often results in expensive details that yield few energy-saving benefits.

In response, two prominent energy consultants, Marc Rosenbaum of Energysmiths and David White of Right Environments, challenge some of Straube's conclusions and defend the goals and methods of the Passivhaus standard.

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Image Credits:

  1. Christoph Schulte, architect

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