Summer-camp: Increasing Expectations for Our Homes Requires a Rich Complexity of Choices

The common notion that aesthetics positively influences housing resonates with most people, but did you know the future of housing, new or existing, will blend science and art? Good craftsmanship provides for a durable, beautiful home, but it does not make up for poor building design, lax engineering, or a lackluster familiarity of basic home performance.

The Building Science Corporation, led by Joseph Lstiburek, just completed their 18th Annual Advanced Building Science Symposium. Often referred to as Summer-camp in the home performance industry, the only reference to by-gone days of camp would be the outside gathering of 400+ professionals for a smorgasbord dinner of home-made delights reminiscent of the “mess-hall.” Otherwise, the four days of camp are saturated with brainy lectures that require a high level discourse and engagement, as ongoing residential building research continues to debunk generations of commonplace practice in various trades.  The last twenty years of research within housing has drastically revealed significant understanding about the thermo-dynamics of our homes and how a myriad of individual parts interact, comprising larger physical systems that work together, or sometimes not.

Iowa has one of the hardest climates in which to build and maintain effective performance, ensuring continuous comfort and longevity of structural integrity. In order to provide atmospheric comfort with our homes the structural design must accommodate both heating and cooling needs, which requires resilient thoughtful design.

While the entire symposium was eye-opening, here are my five favorite lectures from Summer-camp.

1) The Quirkiness of Language

2) The Quirkiness of Stone

3) The Quirkiness of Details

4) Indoor Air Pollution and The Design of Buildings

5) Incas and Water


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