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12 Resources for Learning & Teaching Building Science

HERS Rater Training Pressure Testing Practice Building Science Education Resources

This week at the ACI conference in Detroit, I was part of a session called Speed Dating: Educational Training Tools. It was really fun, with groups of people going to different stations every half hour and getting the scoop on training resources available to them. My job was to show the groups who came to my table web resources. That made it even more fun for me because it meant, unlike J. West, I didn’t have to do any preparation! (I also co-moderated a panel on ventilation, with Lstiburek, Francisco, Walker, and other 62.2 members. Look for an article on that next week!)

Since I shared some really cool resources with the people who came to our session, I thought it might be good to share them with you, too. I hear that some of you like to learn about building science and a few of you even teach it. I do both of those myself, so here you go.


Tons and buckets of great free info from Building Science Corporation, Joseph Lstiburek’s company. One tip I gave the folks at ACI was to make sure you read the footnotes of Joe’s articles. You won’t regret it.

2. Green Building Advisor

When I discovered GBA shortly after they started around 2008, I realized it was a goldmine. Martin Holladay does a fantastic job of writing thorough articles, answering questions, and replying to comments. I have an article there every Wednesday, too.

3. Energy Vanguard Blog

You’re reading it now. Word on the street is that it’s pretty good.  I recommend you subscribe to our weekly newsletter by putting your email address in the box above right.

4. LinkedIn

Join the RESNET BPI and Building Science Community groups to keep abreast of the hot topics, learn from your peers, and engage in great discussions with folks from all over.

5. Residential Energy Dynamics

Great resource for ventilation info, with a bias toward ASHRAE 62.2, of course, since Rick Karg is on the committee. Use their free calculator for all kinds of stuff, like ventilation, air leakage, and insulation. (Paul Raymer of Heyoka Solutions also has a 62.2 calculator in Excel spreadsheet format if you prefer that. He also publishes a monthly newsletter that home energy pros ought to subscribe to.)

6. WXTV Videos

They used funding from the Exxon Valdez settlement to create a bunch of videos to show you how to do things like set up and do a blower door test, dense pack walls with cellulose, and drink coffee while talking on camera.

7. Southface Videos

The video below, with my friend Mike Barcik narrating, is a good introduction to blower door testing.  Check out the other videos on their Youtube channel or the info on their website.

8. Department of Energy website

Great resource for all kinds of stuff they’ve done and are doing. The link above is to one of the higher levels and takes you to their page on residential buildings. From there you can check out the Building America site, including the Solution Center, Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals, the Solar Decathlon, and more.

9. Standard Work Specifications from NREL

If you want to know how to insulate a non-insulation contact recessed can light or cap an open chase in an attic, here’s a great place to find out how. The main limitation here is that it’s all text. Well, it was until my friend Amanda Hatherly at Santa Fe Community College got into them and started illustrating some of the most popular specifications with photographs. They’re not accessible to the general public, though. You have to find out if your state has access and get in touch with the organization that can let you in. In New Mexico, that’s SFCC.


The acronym stands for Weatherization Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center. Tons of info here, but one of my favorite resources for trainers is their page called Curriculum Resources. It’s got dozens and dozens of files you can download and use in your classes. (For future reference, if you want to navigate to that page from the WAPTAC home page, here’s the route: Using the cascading menus at the top, go to Training Resources > Training Tools > WAP Standardized Curricula > Curricula Resources.)

11. Home Energy Magazine

Home Energy Magazine is the magazine that  BPI Building Analysts, weatherization folks, and other home energy pros most often subscribe to. Their website has improved greatly and includes stuff not found in the print version of the magazine.

12. Building Green

Great resource for green building information, especially on products. This is Alex Wilson’s organization, which began decades ago with Environmetal Building News. If you want to find out about AirKrete or get the latest news on Ohio’s attempt to ban LEED, this is your place.


Allison A. Bailes III, PhD is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the founder of Energy Vanguard in Decatur, Georgia. He has a doctorate in physics and writes the Energy Vanguard Blog. He is also writing a book on building science. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.


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