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BS* + Beer

The BS* + Beer Show: Essential Building Science Book Club Discussion

The author fields questions about topics covered in the book, big-picture ideas, and a few holes that need filling

This episode of the BS* + Beer show centers around Jacob Racusin’s book Essential Building Science: Understanding Energy and Moisture in High Performance House Design. He shares his motivation for writing it, and acknowledges some of its shortcomings. He sums up his reasoning behind a whole-systems approach, and makes the point that the motivation behind greener building doesn’t need to be the eco-warrior’s fight. Making a good living, building for durability, ensuring occupant health and comfort, and myriad other reasons for using some of the solutions laid out in the book will move us all toward better, more thoughtful construction—and that’s the point. He describes his notion of the democratization of building science and “movement building,” and lists a number of bio materials that he uses and others on his radar for further exploration. The discussion veers toward “blind spots” in the book that could have been addressed at length and weren’t, such as window detailing, HVAC design, and the carbon emissions profiles of materials. Questions addressed include: If I want a contractor who has a firm grip on green building methods, what questions should I ask when vetting potential hires? Does investigating contractors’ certifications payoff? What are some materials you would include in a follow-up book? The list goes on—tune in to hear the answers and subsequent observations.

Enjoy the show!

Join us on Thursday, April 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. EST when Steve Baczek, Peter Yost, and Jake Bruton, the hosts of the Unbuild It podcast, will take over the show to impart their building science wisdom with guaranteed shenanigans. 

Guest bios 

Steve Baczek is a nationally recognized architect, who has been in the building industry for over 30 years. Throughout his career, he has designed hundreds of projects across the spectrum of energy performance and sustainability, with distinct notoriety in the residential construction sector. His commitment to his clients equates beautiful aesthetics with trusted durability, health, comfort, environmental responsibility, and energy efficiency. His work extends from the Northeast, which he calls home, across the United States. He serves clients with passions that align with his own.

Jake Bruton is the owner of Aarow Building in Columbia, Missouri. At Aarow Building, Jake works to help ensure that all the company’s houses are built to last, and are energy efficient. The company has a collaborative spirit and believes that project development should be between the builder, architect, and client to help ensure that the final product is a home that will not only look good, but feel good to live in and stand the test of time.

Peter Yost is the sole proprietor of Building-Wright in Brattleboro, Vermont. Building-Wright is a high-performance building consulting firm. Peter has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high performance buildings for more than 30 years. His expertise ranges from construction waste management and advanced framing to energy efficiency and building durability. Peter is also a lecturer in Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and an adjunct faculty with Keene State College Department of Architecture and the University of Massachusetts Department of Building Materials and Wood Technology program in Amherst. 

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

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, and conclude with a BS* + Beer Show episode where we will invite the author to join us, present, and take questions.

Musings of an Energy Nerd book cover

We have selected our fourth book: Musings of an Energy Nerd: Toward an Energy-Efficient Home by Martin Holladay, which can be purchased at the Taunton Store.

We hope you will pick up a copy and join the discussion on July 8, 2021.


Kiley Jacques is senior editor at Green Building Advisor. She can be reached at [email protected]. Main image courtesy of Travis Brungardt.

One Comment

  1. CatrinBrooks | | #1

    I like this books!

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