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Is there an excellent Building Science Primer video or article that lays out the principles?

mikeysp | Posted in General Questions on

Has anyone put together an excellent introduction to bulding science principles that includes a captivating presentation with clarity, brevity, and understandibility for explaining the concepts to the guy who is not aware of BS principles. 

My Boss’s son just entered the trade as a carpenter, he loves it. I told my Boss about Building science and how it works. He wants his son to look into it. 

I became a disciple from Matt Risinger videos which led me to Joe Lstiburek, Building Science Corp, and GBA. Since here, I have heard about the JLC, but have not joined, being just a guy building his own house, barn, I do not want to pay more than the $15 a month. I know, I am cheap, but frugality is part of my life at this point.  However, I have been an evangelist promoting it with anyone who is building or talking about building. I work a couple days a week for a very wealthy man and we talk a bit. When he told me about his son entering the carpentry trade workign for a friend of his with many years experience, I informed him that there are many men who have been building for 40 years, and doing poor practices the whole time. I used that as a segway to explain Building Science and what it means. I told him I have built two houses and they were very pretty; and, when I finish my current house, it will certainly not be any more pretty, it will be many more time better built than previous houses. I told him that the Nashville area really needs more science as it is a mold metropolis.  I told him that if I were starting over, I might have chosen becoming a contractor and it would have started by begging someone like Matt Risinger to let me work for free and be his disciple working up through the ranks.

Anyways, my boss asked me this morning for info and the websites I recommend, so I am going to send him: Matt’s channel, his new network, BSC, GBA, and JLC links. However, that is a LOT of info and may overload his son to not even hear; therefore, I want the most excellent primer article or video explaining the principles, what, and why. I will tell him START HERE at the primer.

I was also thinking of the Builder’s guide that BSC produced for Mixed Humid climate, but I am not sure if that is the best solution as the date is several year old on that book. 

Thank youn for your advice.


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  1. GBA Editor
    Brian Pontolilo | | #1

    Hi Mike,

    I've been to lots of educational events and trainings, yet I've never attended one that I felt was really geared towards a beginner. They all seem to dive in with a pretty high expectation of knowledge. I've never taken Lstiburek's Building Science Fundamentals course. I'd like to, when live events are happening again.

    A colleague of mine is looking into the Building Performance Institute's building science certification program and will be writing about it at some point. It is geared towards beginners. You study their reference guide at your own pace until you are ready to test. When you pass the test, you get a Building Science Principles Certificate. The whole shebang costs only a couple hundred bucks. It might be a way for your boss’s son to get his feet wet. Hopefully we'll either be back to being able to hold and attend live trainings sooner than later and/or organizations like BSC will start to offer trainings online. Here's the link:

    1. mikeysp | | #2

      Thank you Brian. He is at a point where he needs to be sold on it. His dad is going to pass on the links I send him. I think he needs a simple explanation to get him to value all the info that is available. After all, he is working for a custom builder with 40 years of experience, why read a bunch of info I send him... thus the sales point. I may have to write up a short "why building science" is very important to tease him in if no one has a recommendation. I will mention to him the study course. Thanks again.

      1. GBA Editor
        Brian Pontolilo | | #4

        Got it Mike. In case you are not aware of it, this FHB article may be helpful: What is Building Science?

  2. maine_tyler | | #3

    I'm sure there are a couple good articles here that can break the ice. Nothing specific comes to mind, but maybe something that lays out the fundamental control layers?

    This video series with Peter Yost also comes to mind.

    I think a lot will depend on what media your boss's son most likes (if it's video, go video... and then what type of video? Youtube/blog type? Or long-form science presentations like above?).

    If it's written word, to what level of detail would be most engaging for him? GBA certainly covers both ends, but has a lot of good introductory stuff that stays fairly simple. BSC wades into both realms too.

  3. mikeysp | | #5

    Very good. Thank you for these links gents.

  4. Expert Member
    ARMANDO COBO | | #6

    If he's willing to put the time other than a 140 character text or tweet, or a 15 second tik-tok video, ;-)) ... check the Building America Solution Center,

  5. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #7

    Mike, I would humbly submit that our goal with the Pretty Good House website is to provide the compelling, entry-level arguments and details about how and why to build better than code minimum (or worse). The idea is to build on the excellent resources such as GBA, BSC and Building America websites that have mountains of solid information but that can be overwhelming to newbies.

    Here's what we have so far: It links back to the Pretty Good House articles that GBA has published, which from what I have heard have been effective for changing some minds. And as we develop it further, we plan to link to articles for deeper understanding and discussion.

    What we're missing is a concise, compelling "why" statement. This recent Dwell article about the Pretty Good House movement is a start:

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