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The BS* + Beer Show: “Ask Me Anything” with Christine Williamson

For this episode of the BS* + Beer show, we turn the floor over to industry firebrand Christine Williamson, founder of Building Science Fight Club. As always, her delivery of gold-nugget information is pitch-perfect and entertaining. She talks about her course, “Building Science for Architects,” and why she created it; and she advises industry pros on two key capabilities: technical know-how and an attitude of humility, noting that intellectual honesty is helpful for deep learning. She shares some valuable resources, as well as her thoughts on spray foam, her involvement with ASHRAE, and the role of social media in disseminating…


The BS* + Beer Show: Conspiracy Theories with the Green Police

In this episode of the BS* + Beer show Carl Seville and Michael Anschel, a.k.a The Green Police, deliver game show–style entertainment that is best described as “Jeopardy! meets Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!” For this Second Annual Halloween–themed show, they take building industry conspiracy theories to a place none of us could have predicted. It’s a royally ridiculous must-see episode. Prepare to be stumped, and when in doubt, “Passive House” is a good guess. Enjoy the show! [embedded content] Join us on November 4 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. ET when Christine Williamson will impart pearls…


Multi-State Passive House Tour

Passive House projects in a number of U.S. cities will be open for tours November 5-7 as part of the International Passive House Open Days, promoted by Passive House Network. U.S. projects are located in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, and California. Most seem to be single-family homes, but there’s also a high-rise mixed-use office building in downtown Boston on the schedule. Times and dates vary, and registration in advance is required. A complete list of locations and times is available here. There also are virtual tours from last year’s event on a dedicated YouTube channel.…


Maine and Oregon Address the Problem of Packaging Waste

This post originally appeared at The Conversation, and was co-authored by Jessica Heiges and Kate O’Neill. Most consumers don’t pay much attention to the packaging that their purchases come in, unless it’s hard to open or the item is really over-wrapped. But packaging accounts for about 28% of U.S. municipal solid waste. Only some 53% of it ends up in recycling bins, and even less is actually recycled: According to trade associations, at least 25% of materials collected for recycling in the U.S. are rejected and incinerated or sent to landfills instead. Local governments across the U.S. handle waste management,…


Updated Climate Zone Map Reflects Warming Trend

Warming temperatures have prompted changes in a climate-zone map used to set energy efficiency requirements across the U.S. The familiar multi-colored map showing seven temperature zones in the continental U.S. is published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). It’s used by the International Code Council (ICC) to recommend requirements for insulation, windows, and other features in low-rise residential buildings. Acting on data related to a changing climate that has brought warmer conditions to much of the country, ASHRAE determined in 2013 that roughly 400 of the nation’s 3000 counties should be assigned to a new…


Zonal Pressure Diagnostics, Part III

This article was originally published by the HVAC School; it has been slightly edited. It is the last in a three-part series. I am picking up where I left off in part 2 of the series, where I discussed how a pressure reading from an attached zone indicates only the ratio of the collective size of the leaks between the zone and the envelope with relation to the collective size of the leaks between the zone and outdoors (and vice versa). In other words, a zonal pressure diagnostic (ZPD) reading by itself does not tell us if a zone is…

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