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BS* + Beer

The BS* + Beer Show: Deep-Energy Retrofit of an Old Timber-Frame House

Mason Lord, founder of Hudson Valley Preservation, shares a close-up look at what it takes to save a historic home using building science-based methods and products

Hudson Valley Preservation salvages the bones of a late 1700s timber-frame home while bringing performance levels to net-zero.

This episode of the BS* + Beer show is the first in a new series of case studies. Our idea is to share whole-house projects steeped in building science-related information, and Mason Lord was the ideal guest to have out of the gate.

Mason founded Hudson Valley Preservation (HVP), located in Kent, CT, nearly 30 years ago. The small design-build firm specializes in historic preservation, offering full-scope remodels and structural repairs. They work regularly on antique homes, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their most recent project, a deep-energy retrofit of a 200-plus-year-old timber frame house, is the topic of this episode. Mason covers the history of the house, the existing conditions, the team assembled to address them, the project goals, the products used, and a number of discoveries made along the way. He also shares lessons learned while working on other historical homes, which helped inform the work performed here.

Mason’s love of history and commitment to environmental stewardship guide his work. He is passionate about building science, and is responsible for starting the Connecticut chapter of BS* + Beer. He’s also an active audience member on the show each week, which made having him a true pleasure.

If saving timber-frame houses and energy-efficient construction are your bailiwick, you’ll want to tune in.

Enjoy the show!

Join us on Thursday, September 10, from 6 to 7:30 pm, when guests Sharon Libby and Bill Robinson will explore the topic of sealants—a critical yet nascent component of what we are doing today in the name of building science. Back in July, Peter Yost and David Gauthier took a look at tapes, so we figured it made sense to cover sealants, too. (Be on the lookout for a future throwdown between the two product types.)

Sharon Libby, Quality Director at WALSH Construction in the Pacific Northwest, will share findings from the company’s Sealant Adhesion and Compatibility Study, which was conducted to determine adhesion levels between commonly spec’ed sealants and substrates. The study looked at weather-resistive barriers, self-adhered membranes, liquid-applied membranes, as well as cladding components such as brick, fiber cement, and window installation−related materials. Sharon will talk about some of the lessons her team gleaned from the findings and procedural changes made in response. 

Louisiana-based building-science educator Bill Robinson will draw on his extensive field experience as a general contractor to inform his presentation. He will provide information on the proper application of sealants—specifically when spanning gaps between two surfaces. He will also demonstrate the benefit of double- (not triple!) sided adhesion.

Panelist Bios

Sharon Libby joined WALSH in 2013, and has over a decade of experience in the architecture and construction industries. As WALSH Quality Director, she is responsible for the implementation of Quality Assurance and Quality Control procedures. In the pre-construction phase of a project, Sharon reviews the drawings and specifications in progress and advises the project team on quality and constructability issues. During construction, Sharon oversees installation procedures and envelope coordination activities and conducts construction reviews with the craftspeople responsible for execution to ensure a high-quality project.

Bill Robinson is doing a second stint in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The first time around, he worked as an oilfield diver on all three U.S. coasts, the North Sea, both coasts of South America, and New Zealand. He also served as a building envelope consultant with a focus on water management.

For a time, Bill was a general contractor in California, where it became clear to him that there was a significant training gap. This started him on a path to share information around building practices—his idea was that well-trained technicians build better homes. These days, he works with manufacturers, builders, and homeowners to make homes durable, efficient, and healthy.

Since returning to Louisiana, Bill has worked with LSU AgCenter as a building science educator. He also spends time roaming the countryside in the hot-humid climate to find “the red marbles” and eliminate them. (Be sure to ask Bill about those red marbles!)

Bill has written articles for Journal of Light Construction, Fine Homebuilding, and several other publications. He has worked on the show floor of the International Builders’ Show, The Remodeling Show, and JLC Live, among others. To see some of Bill’s work, go to

Use this link to register for The BS* + Beer Show.

The BS* + Beer Book Club

Because the hosts of the BS* + Beer Show all love to read, we thought we would celebrate the authors in our industry by adding a book club to the show every few months. We’ll announce the book, give you a few months to get it and read it, if you haven’t already, and conclude with a BS* + Beer Show episode where we will invite the author to join us, present, and take questions.

The first book we’ll read is The New Carbon Architecture by Bruce King. Bruce will join us on the show on September 24th.

Here’s a bit from Bruce’s publisher:

A tour de force by the leaders in the field, The New Carbon Architecture will fire the imagination of architects, engineers, builders, policymakers, and anyone captivated by the possibility of architecture to heal the climate and produce safer, healthier, and more beautiful buildings.

I hope you will join us on September 24th as well.


-You can contact Kiley Jacques at [email protected].


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