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Building science options

schatzyman | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

looking for advice on options on getting into building science & green renovation —- it seems there is still a disconnect between the building science research and the builders in the field.

Quick background on me — I have a Chemistry degree and taught the subject for 8 years before leaving the field to be a remodeling contractor — so I am very interested in the science behind renovating from an energy standpoint.

Are there any certifications/training I could invest in to expand my business that would be both beneficial from an education standpoint as well as a business one? I don’t hear a lot of contractors in my area talking about building science or incorporating these techniques into their bids. Quick example, I recently quoted a job for the renovation of a room that included a vaulted ceiling that is not properly insulated or vented. The other bids that the customer received involved popping numerous recessed lights into the ceiling and made zero mention of properly air sealing them, of venting the roof deck, or of foaming the deck and including it as part of the conditioned space. While I personally feel confident discussing these issues with a potential customer, I don’t have any official “certification” to provide to show them I am any more right/wrong than the other contractors. I briefly researched BPI certification, but not sure if that is at all useful or appropriate.

Any/all thoughts and perspectives are greatly appreciated!

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  1. RZR | | #1

    The disconnect you refer to is due to lack of corporate structure, anyone that has experience working in corporate and this industry knows what I mean.

    How about your first test? If I take calcium oxide type s and combine it with a high silica plant will the silica's petrify over time? Do the silca create a bond at the molecular level or is it created by another means?

    Do pozzolans like fly-ash have the same bonding strength in lap tension and shear as portland cement? They say fly ash makes portland cement stronger? How? What property? What about magnesium oxide?

  2. schatzyman | | #2

    Thanks for sharing Terry

  3. Expert Member

    Jason, He can't share the answer anyway, it's proprietary knowledge.

    Hopefully Allison Bailles will be along with some useful advice.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    The most commonly cited home performance certifications (from a building science perspective) are provided by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and the Building Performance Institute (BPI).

    If you pursue certifications from either group, you will likely learn a lot. Will certifications help your business? That's a tougher question to answer.

  5. schatzyman | | #5

    Thanks Martin.... love reading your blog posts. Your answer is kind of what I was anticipating as far as business perspective.... Getting building science into mainstream remodeling/building I think will take an effort on both the contractor and consumer fronts... contractors willing to learn it, and consumers interested in looking for qualified contractors. Seeing as it is a field I find very interesting I think I will roll the dice and give it a shot

    Thanks again

  6. Richard Beyer | | #6


    Contact; Ryan Dalgleish, Chief Operating Officer
    Building Professionals
    1030 15th Street NW, Suite 460
    Washington, DC 20005
    p: 866.268.6322
    f: 866.956.5819
    e: [email protected]

  7. schatzyman | | #7

    Thanks Richard, the email address seems to be un-deliverable however

  8. user-1072251 | | #8

    Sounds like you are looking for training in how to build a good house or renovation - there are no better places to start than a Passive House course. There are courses for Consultants, Designers and Builders as well as others available. The founders of Passive House essentially figured out what works and what doesn't, and whether you go on to build Certified houses, or simply understand what the important factors are and how they work together, you'll be better off.

  9. Richard Beyer | | #9

    Sorry Jason. That is the email from their web page. Here's the web site...

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