May 21, 2024

BS* & Beer Portland 2024

This is a logo for BS* & Beer.

I attended a building science symposium last month put on by BS* & Beer. This 2-day event highlighted high performance residential building where leading builders and designers presented how and why they build better than the easiest/cheapest/most common available strategy. I’ve posted a little about building science issues here, here, and here, but thought I’d just highlight this event and prompt some consideration that high performance building really is the way forward for best practice design.

What is BS* & Beer?

* “Building Science” — Originally, it was a local meetup of designers and builders talking shop about high performance residential building in New England. More specifically, they wondered if the Passivhaus standard was too over-the-top and maybe not that well tuned to US climate issues. Eventually, this local meetup developed momentum and became a podcast. And finally, it extended out organically to regional groups in other locales around the US.

BS* & Beer Takeaways

While I can’t relay the entirety of the presentations here (just too much to cover), I wanted to publish a couple of thoughts that we should consider more in residential design.

  1. “High” performance building is really just about improved building durability and comfort. We need to raise the bar for what house (building) comfort is. Then, we need to teach non-industry folks about high performance buildings so they can start to demand it as part of their remodels or new builds. This is what brings the general building world along, when demand intensifies for better performing buildings.
  1. We need to consider these “high performance” strategies as regular performance expectations. [Sort of like #1 above…but somehow deserves its own line item.]
  1. One actionable task: in combination: we need to air seal, AND we need to control humidity in our spaces. Just one of these is not enough. Air sealing is not currently common, but it is essential to building comfort and performance. The building codes are starting to bring air sealing into the required process, but they are admittedly slow to require the levels we now understand to work best.
  1. We met some cool people, local & visiting. Some of them are linked below so you can read more about what they are doing.

High performance building resources:

Building Science

& Beer

Continuing education isn’t just a requirement for license renewal

We like to keep learning at Christie Architecture. Symposiums like BS* & Beer allow us to keep up with the best practices in our industry so that we can provide high quality designs for our clients. Call us to talk about designing your next building project to be more durable and comfortable!