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Community and Q&A

Starting a Wisconsin Chapter of BS* + Beer

mathiasx | Posted in General Questions on

Hi all,

I’ve seen enough mentions of living in Wisconsin recently here and in article comments to think that we should try some sort of group. BS & Beer gives us a template.

Is there already a group, and I’ve missed it? Otherwise, would the folks from this area like to set something up? Edit: It’d likely be over Zoom.

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  1. tallpinescabin | | #1

    I suspect there's not enough people to sustain it based on WI alone.....I'd think you'd need to do something like a Northern Midwest group or Lake States group? WI, MN, MI....

    1. mathiasx | | #2

      That’d be fine by me. We wouldn’t even need to keep it only Zone 6A — the distinction made at the WI/Illinois border seems more practical than realistic.

  2. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #3

    My experience is that you can start your own local group pretty much anywhere. I live in a rural area, about 30 people per square mile. The original building science discussion group in Portland, Maine is only 75 miles away and I know several people who travel over an hour to get to that one. Yet our first local meet-up at Lake St. George Brewing drew something like 15 people, which is plenty for a robust discussion. Especially with many people starved for social outlets after dealing with the pandemic for the last year, and with the growing interest in building science, I believe there could be local BS + Beer (or name of your choice) groups pretty much anywhere there are communities, as close as 30-60 miles apart.

    One thing to point out, if you have only experienced BS + Beer through our Zoom show, is that local groups usually get together monthly or quarterly, and often don't have experts as guests--you can have a good discussion with any group of interested people; you just need someone to moderate the discussion.

    Here are some more tips for starting your own local group:

    1. mathiasx | | #4

      Thank you! This is an excellent reference. Now I’m just hoping to see more Great Lakes region folks chime in with interest.

      Rather than expert panels, I also would expect a regional group to be more about local climate concerns, introducing folks to each other (consumer/homeowners to builders to energy raters to architects, etc) and maybe local code questions? Not sure.

      Following the book club model and then discussing as a group may also be useful.

      1. ssnellings | | #12

        I went to a bunch of the Portland, ME events back around eight-ten years ago and I'm now in Wisconsin. I'd definitely be interested in participating in something local.

        One of the big differences will be the maturity of the local industry. The one in Portland was really advertised as industry only and was held at a high-performance component distributor's warehouse. I'm not sure that really 'applies' in Wisconsin, but maybe I'm wrong. So I agree that framing it with an eye towards both industry and non-industry participants might be the right way to get to a critical mass.

        Drop an email in the thread where people can reach out might be a good idea.

        1. mathiasx | | #13

          Admins: ok for me to drop an email address here? I’m not sure what the rules are around that.

  3. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #5

    How about a Zoom group?

    1. mathiasx | | #6

      Good call, I have edited the original message to indicate that I meant Zoom.

  4. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #7

    That's fantastic, Matt. Good for you. On the very off chance that you haven’t seen the BS* + Beer Show, I thought I’d share the link to all past episodes.

  5. mathiasx | | #8

    I’m not on Facebook, so this thread will have to do for gathering interest.

    If you’re from Wisconsin or the other Great Lakes states and want to participate in a building science discussion group over Zoom in the next month or two, let me know by replying here and indicating when you could do it? (Weekends? Weeknights? Indicate time zone too.) I will try to nail down a date/time better once I know what’d work for the most folks.


    1. Expert Member
      Michael Maines | | #10

      Matt, are you on Instagram? There is an active building science community there and a lot of BS (and BS+Beer) discussed and shared there.

      1. mathiasx | | #14

        I am not. I should probably make an account, although I don’t tend to use social media like Facebook, Instagram, etc.

        I’m also not in the building trades and not an energy rater nor an architect, and not a solar installer/contractor (which the MREA here focuses on), so I’m still trying to figure out how to best use my interests in building science — helping with community and organizing seems best.

    2. tallpinescabin | | #11

      I'd likely be in for one. In WI, CDT. Weeknights are better for me, but not super critical.

    3. CMObuilds | | #15

      Good idea Matt! I would be interested, Im a builder in central WI.

  6. PAUL KUENN | | #9

    Awesome idea Matt!
    As a guest speaker at previous MREA solar fests, I'd be happy to join in. I'm sure we could get Sonya in Viroqua to chime in about her Passiv house details. Also John Shillito my favorite blower door tester.

  7. bcernohous | | #16

    Did anything come of this?

    1. ssnellings | | #17

      I don't believe so, at least I wasn't involved in any follow-up.

  8. PAUL KUENN | | #18

    Haven't heard a peep.

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