skip to Main Content

Photo Highlights from the 2013 Building Science Summer Camp

Building Science Summer Camp 2013 Napkin Sketch

Building Science Summer Camp ended yesterday. It’s been another fabulous event, the third one I’ve attended since getting myself invited by writing this piece that caught Joe Lstiburek’s attention. As I wind down and reflect on the things I learned this week, I thought you might like to see a few photos to get a feel for what really happens at the Westford Symposium on Building Science.

The first photo gives you an idea of what, I believe, is the best aspect of this event: sharing ideas. On Monday evening, I was at a table when two different discussions led to napkin sketches. (That’s Kristof Irwin at the top and Blake Reid on the right.) The conversations that happen at Summer Camp are amazing!

building science summer camp 2013 michael blasnik occupation data

We also get to hear some of the top folks in the world of building science, of course, and the conference opened with three hours of Michael Blasnik giving a presentation called Lies, Damn Lies, and Modeling. Here you see him standing next to a slide showing data of energy intensity by occupation. Architects are at the top.

building science summer camp 2013 michael blasnik religion data

He then showed a graph of blower door results by religion. The point is that you can get data to say a lot of things that may or may not be meaningful.

building science summer camp 2013 leaning cups

I think these melted, leaning water cups were some kind of trick by Joe or Betsy to make people think they were drunker than they really were.

building science summer camp 2013 gary klein hot water

Gary Klein spoke about hot water on the first day and used volunteers to demonstrate how to minimize the amount of wasted hot water when you turn on fixtures throughout the house. Basically, the method is to use trunk-and-branch plumbing and make the twigs (his term for the last run to individual fixtures) as small and short as possible.

building science summer camp 2013 bagpipes

Occasionally you get surprises at Summer Camp. At the end of the sessions on Tuesday, a bagpiper marched into the seminar room and played Scotland the Brave, a traditional Scottish tune.

building science summer camp 2013 band music

The Building Science Boogie Band played every night, of course. In the photo above, you can see a couple of new additions to the band: Danko Davidovic, a PhD building scientist with Huber Engineered Woods, and Rob Moody on the sax.

building science summer camp 2013 crawl space 2 440

Summer Camp wouldn’t be complete without the annual Crawl Space Twitterview. We sit around with Joe in the conditioned crawl space/wine cellar and ask him a lot of questions that go straight to Twitter. (You can see all the tweets from Summer Camp using the #bscamp hashtag.) Peter Troast of Energy Circle wrote up a transcript of this year’s crawl space Twitterview, but I’ll give you these few nuggets from our conversation with Joe:

“Passive House is the only place where real innovation is happening.”

“ASHRAE 62.2: Build tight and over-ventilate right.”

“Love is the most important metric.”

It’s been another great Summer Camp! Tremendous thanks to Joe and Betsy for opening their home to 430 of their closest friends!


At the request of Kim Shanahan, here’s a photo of the two women from New Mexico who attended Summer Camp this year. (That’s Amanda Evans of Santa Fe Community College at the end of the table and Leslie Buerk, an architect from Albuquerque, to her right.) And speaking of women, there were definitely more X chromosomes in attendance this year. Of the 430 total, 75 were women.

building science summer camp 2013 backyard


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 also has a book on building science coming out in the fall of 2022. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.


Related Articles

I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Building Science Summer Camp! (2010)

16 Random Thoughts on the First Day of Building Science Summer Camp (2011)

I DO Need Some Stinkin’ Building Science Summer Camp! (2012)


Photo credits: All photos except last one by Energy Vanguard. Photo of Allison Bailes, Joe Lstiburek, et al. by Peter Troast.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. “He then showed a graph
    “He then showed a graph of blower door results by religion.” 
    So how did the numbers from Southern Baptists compare to those from the Catholics? 
    OK, sorry, I couldn’t resist :-). 
    I’m very much impressed by your comments about sharing ideas and, especially, the opportunities you had to learn. That says a lot about your character. 
    Thanks for the summary! 
    Best wishes.

  2. Steve W.:
    Steve W.: You’re welcome, Steve.  
    Jamie K.: OK, since I got two requests in two comments, I figured I better just show the data. My photo of that slide is in there now. Jews are right in the middle. 

  3. How about some pictures of
    How about some pictures of the babes of building science? Our own Amanda Evans is supposedly there but so far no photo evidence to confirm…

  4. Thanks for the summary, and
    Thanks for the summary, and the link to the article that got Dr. Joe’s attention…that was great! 
    If I were a full time building science guy I’d be waving my hand in the air like Arnold Horshack, saying “Oh oh! Mr. Lstiburek! Can I come?” but for now I’m a in-the-trenches chief engineer of an art museum who is about to double as an HVAC instructor teaching HVAC design at our local community college…which is the very class I sat in several years back that stirred my initial interest in building science and HVAC, where I first began to understand the building and HVAC as a complete system.  
    I also don’t play any musical instruments (not very well…and I’m sure the didgeredoo can’t hold a candle to bagpipes)…but maybe someday if the stars align I may be able to experience first hand what looked like an absolute building science geekfest blast for you all!

  5. I’m mildly hopeful that via
    I’m mildly hopeful that via occasional snark blasts such as that I recently directed at the ASHRAE 62.2 forced mechanical ventilation committee (hereinafter CRAPONUS), that someday I might also earn an invitation to summer camp… 
    Not that summer camp lust is the source of my snark blasts; they’re organic to my DNA and free of charge. 

  6. Ahhh… 

    I’m really hoping to go someday. Sounded like a lot of fun/learning. 
    Who else spoke?

  7. Cameron and Curt, send your
    Cameron and Curt, send your email address to Allison and he will get it to me. I will see if I can wrangle you an invitation for next year. I have a connection with the organizer. Views that are different than mine are welcome. Open minds are even more welcome. And young is good. Relentless energy is even better.

  8. Kim S.: I
    Kim S.: I’ve added a photo to provide the evidence you requested.

  9. Oh man…I should have
    Oh man…I should have enabled email notifications on this thread! Thank you, Dr. Joe! Now if I can just find Allison’s email addy…so far havent seen it on the EV site.  
    The open mind I can provide…I am all about learning. And although I’m middle aged, noone I know ever accuses me of it. Perhaps due to that relentless energy thing? 🙂

  10. I received my invitation
    I received my invitation yesterday, and I’m happy to say I will be joining this great event for August 2014! I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at summer camp! Thank you, Allison, for your part in helping this come true for me.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top