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BS* + Beer

Lighting Design Strategies

Smart and effective lighting goes well beyond swapping out incandescent bulbs for LEDs. Start with the science.

Image courtesy of David Warfel

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features lighting design expert and educator David Warfel (author of “Lighting for the Long Term” and “The Lighting Power of LEDs” ), and Jeff Calkins, owner of Calkins Electric Supply Co. The conversation runs from the theoretical to the practical. We learn about the ways in which light (and lack thereof) affects our eyes, mood, and overall wellbeing, and we hear some strategies for optimizing the quality and quantity of light in our homes. David shares some intriguing science and how it has influenced the lighting products market. He describes the state of the industry as “a mess but really exciting,” noting that the speed at which it is advancing is both astonishing and encouraging. Jeff voices his takeaways, which include redirecting conversations with clients away from lighting as either utilitarian or “decorative” and toward the information around human health, although he acknowledges the challenge of convincing people to invest in a spectrum of good lighting. “Four cans and a fan,” he agrees, needs to be a thing of the past, even though it appears to be the best of cost-effective approaches. David provides some alternative ideas, while recognizing there can be an energy penalty to pay when lighting for health. It’s fascinating stuff—even hosts Emily and Mike, who both know a good deal about lighting, said they learned a lot. Given the on-fire chat-box conversation, we all agreed that we need to do a follow-up show (or two). 

Enjoy the show! (And for more information, check out David’s blog: The Language of Light)

Join us on Thursday, January 4, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. EST when industry leaders Martin Holladay and Ben Bogie will discuss roof venting—a perennial hot topic in the building science community. They will address the oft-asked question of whether or not to vent a roof, looking at variables like climate, assemblies, and performance goals as determinants. As GBA Editor Emeritus, Martin has written and spoken exhaustively on the topic. “Five Cathedral Ceilings That Work” and “All About Attic Venting” are among his most popular articles. Regular GBA readers will know that questions around roof venting come up all the time. In fact, Ben just weighed in on this recent Q&A Spotlight about detailing a cathedral ceiling/shed roof. Martin, Ben, and the Brew Crew will delve into the hows, whys, and why-nots of roof venting—tune in to hear what they have to say, and to share your thoughts in the chat box! 

(Here’s a good precursor to the show: “A Crash Course in Roof Venting”)

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

Speaker bios

Martin Holladay is one of the founding editors of Green Building Advisor, where he published building science−related content for over 10 years. Now retired, he still writes the GBA column, “Musings of an Energy Nerd.” Martin built his first passive-solar house in northern Vermont in 1974, and he has lived off the grid since 1975. He has worked as a plumbing wholesale counterperson, roofer, remodeler and builder, and has been an editor and writer at Fine Homebuilding, The Journal of Light Construction, and Energy Design Update magazines. Martin’s book, also titled Musings of an Energy Nerd, is a renowned resource in the residential building industry.

Ben Bogie is a second-generation builder and a project manager at BPC Green Builders in Wilton, CT, where he leverages his years of site experience making sure projects come together as seamlessly as possible, or as he describes it, “eliminating curse-word moments.” Ben is passionate about historical renovations and creating high-performance homes; he specializes in building science, low-energy designs, and high-end custom finishes. His construction background is rooted in woodwork. He studied at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship and worked in demanding building and finish-carpentry positions in southern New England. Ben is a frequent presenter at conferences including the Fine Homebuilding Summit and JLC Live, where he shares his techniques for building efficient, durable homes. He is also a regular contributor to GBA’s Building Matters blog. Find Ben on Instagram.

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.

Essential Building Science book cover

We have selected our third book: Essential Building Science: Understanding Energy and Moisture in High Performance House Design by Jacob Deva Racusin.

We hope you will pick up a copy and join the discussion on April 1, 2021.


You can contact Kiley Jacques at [email protected].


  1. pakrat1 | | #1

    I cant figure how to continue to the blog after the bs+b ends

    1. Expert Member
      Michael Maines | | #2

      Michael, we don't move directly to the blog after the show; Kiley usually posts it on the Sunday after the show.

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