2013: A Look Back at the Year in Building Science
2013 is almost history. Just a few short hours left before the giant possum drops into the bonfire to ring in 2014. (That's the New Year's party I go to each year, and it's always a lot of fun.) So let's take a quick look back at the year that we're finishing up, as witnessed through this blog.
The great ventilation debate
Perhaps the biggest issue I covered this past year was the debate over ventilation rates for homes. ASHRAE 62.2 is the standard that coveres this, and it's been immersed in controversy since the beginning.
Here are the articles I wrote about the debate:
Residential Ventilation Smackdown — The Battle Over Simplicity (1/18) A little debate between John Krigger and Paul Raymer that kicked things off.
A Blower Door Can't Tell You How Much Mechanical Ventilation You Need (2/1) Based on one of Dr. Joe Lstiburek's main beefs with how we decide to ventilate homes. Be sure to see the debate between Michael Blasnik and Joe in the comments.
Why Do Airtight Homes Need Mechanical Ventilation? (2/4) An explanation of why this whole thing is important to begin with.
Lstiburek Has New Ventilation Standard—Resistance May Not Be Futile (7/8) My big scoop of the year. I wanted to write another article about ventilation and asked Joe if he had anything to contribute. He told me they (Building Science Corporation) were about to release their own ventilation standard to compete with ASHRAE 62.2.
Interview with Dr. Joe Lstiburek — The Ventilation Debate Continues (7/22) I interviewed Joe about his new standard. This article was published the day after he ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain to help his son celebrate his 30th birthday.
ASHRAE 62.2 Committee Chair Predicts Confusion & Frustration from BSC-01 (8/5) Paul Francisco contacted me and asked for equal time to give some balance to the issue, so I interviewed him, too. You can read the full transcript here.
Will Higher Ventilation Rates Reduce Student Absences in School? (12/5) This one's not as directly related to the core topic as the others, but it's still an important one. Be sure to see my updated version of this article at Green Building Advisor.
The Mixed-Up IAQ and Infiltration Blues (12/13) A nice little song by Eric Werling about the confusion that Paul Francisco alluded to.
Stay tuned. I'll have more about this issue in the coming year.
Meat and potatoes
Every once in a while, I write a more substantial article. These are the ones where I explain an issue in depth, like my posts on the HERS Index and the refrigeration cycle in previous years. Here are my best meat-and-potatoes articles for 2013:
Same old stupid stuff...
As usual, I've written a number of articles about the same old stupid stuff that makes buildings underperform. Here are a few of the best:
And some things done right!
Here are a few articles about the good stuff that's happening in the world of building science and home building:
Scoops and news
I've already mentioned my big scoop of the year (Lstiburek's new ventilation standard), but here are some other big news articles I wrote:
My favorite article of 2013
Yes, I do have a favorite. Some articles just seem to flow out of my fingertips. They may not be my most popular articles, but I can tell when I write them that they're special. I wrote 118 articles in 2013, covering a lot of different topics, and my favorite of the year is the one I wrote while sipping Scotch in a Dallas bar last March. It wasn't the article I sat down to write—it's much better.
It's been a great year. I learned to ski. I made a lot of new friends. The Energy Vanguard Blog continued its amazing growth. (We exceeded 100,000 unique visitors in a month for the first time in November.) We hired Alexander Bell, our new HVAC designer and building science associate.
One of the best things is having so many people appreciate what I do here in the Energy Vanguard Blog. When I spoke at the Better Buildings conference in Chicago earlier this month, a reader from Illinois came up to me to tell me how much she learns here and how it helps her remodeling business.
The next day in Massachusetts at BSC's Experts' Session, another person came up to me to tell me how much they get out of the blog. I'm not saying this to boast. I'm saying it because I'm touched that people not only read what I write but that they tell me things like that. Thank you all for caring and reading and helping me carry out this crazy mission of trying to change the world.
I wish you all a safe and happy new year!