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My Passion for Building Science Education and Bad Contractors

Installing windows before house wrap is like tucking your raincoat into your pants.

When asked to name our passions at the conference I went to in Portland, Oregon last week, I had to think about it a little bit. I had just been discussing what it is we aim to do at a company strategy session a few days before, so that discussion came to mind. At the strategy session, I said we provide building science information to help people who want to do things the right way or who want to hire contractors who do things the right way. I knew there had to be a better way to say it, though.

My First Affordable Comfort Conference

aci affordable comfort conference trade show

In 2005 I went to my first Affordable Comfort conference, now usually called the ACI national conference or just ACI. The year before I'd gone to the RESNET conference but by 2005, my first business in this industry (ab3 energy) was moving into home performance contracting. I'd just taken a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR class and was trying to learn as much as I could about air sealing, duct sealing, insulation, and running a business in a niche that went against the grain of what most contractors do in homes.

Is It Time To Give Up On High-Performance Homes?

high performance home comfort health iaq durability efficiency

To those of us in the industry, the term 'high-performance home' has a clear definition. It's one with a good building enclosure. That is, it's airtight and insulated well. It has properly sized, installed, and commissioned heating and air conditioning systems, including the distribution side. Because it's airtight, it also has mechanical ventilation. The result is a home that's comfortable, healthful, durable, and energy efficient. Apparently that's not good enough.


A Home Performance Trailer as Good as Pap-Paw's Truck

bailes electric truck leesville louisiana

The truck below is the one I spent my teenage summers in and around when I worked for my grandfather, the most senior of the Allison Arthur Baileses. It was a great truck and had almost everything on it that we'd need for a day doing electrical, plumbing, or air conditioning work in Leesville, Louisiana. Pap-paw knew how to outfit a truck to make Bailes Electric as efficient as possible. Recently, I saw something that reminded me of that old truck.


A December Building Science Bonanza

better buildings business conference chicago action packed

Let me drop a few names on you: John Straube, Peter Yost, Scott Pigg, Keith Williams. Impressed? If you know who those folks are, you probably realize how much you could learn from them. If you don't recognize the names, that's an even better reason for you to come to the Better Buildings: Better Business conference in Chicago. Those four guys are some of the top repositories—and creators—of building science knowledge in North America.

Is Mike Rowe Right about the War on Work?

allison a bailes sr iii photobomb

Peripeteia and anagnorisis. Not the kind of words you expect to hear from people who do 'dirty jobs.' Of course, Mike Rowe doesn't do dirty jobs for a living the same way that most of the people he covers do. Anyone who's done what Mike Rowe did with lamb testicles that day in Craig, Colorado, though, is allowed to use a couple of big words.

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The Secrets of Liars — How to Detect an Internet Solar Energy Scam

how to detect internet scam 1

All I was trying to do was find some football scores on Yahoo the other day when I saw it. I don't go looking for this stuff, and when I do see it, I try to ignore it. But this one clotheslined me with an unfair term.

Patent Troll Tactics Target Infrared Camera Use of Home Inspectors

trolls patent home inspection infrared camera thermal image 300

A year or two ago, I remember getting trapped in my car one evening listening to Ira Glass's show This American Life. It was an episode titled When Patents Attack, and I was riveted. They described how a seemingly small change in the US patent office's protocol led to the growth of an industry that siphons money from tech companies through legal, but sketchy, license fees and lawsuits. It seems that some in our industry were paying attention to Nathan Myhrvold's shenanigans and are now going after home inspectors and energy auditors.

5 Inescapable Reasons HVAC Contractors Need to Be in Home Performance

canadian 100 dollar bill hvac contractor home performance

After a nice dinner at La Palette in Toronto one evening, I began walking down Queen Street as I headed back toward my hotel. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a piece of paper on the ground. It looked a lot like Canadian money, but surely my eyes deceived me. It must've just been my lack of familiarity with their currency. Right?

11 Building Science Secrets Every Home Builder & Remodeler Should Know

Building science secrets for home builders and remodelers

Overall, the state of the construction industry is improving. A lot of home builders and remodelers are learning, either out of interest or coercion, about building science and how to apply it to their work.

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