Courses planned for the 2020 Summit have been submitted for approval for AIA CES credit. Check back soon for more details.
Conversations About Performance, Risk, and Durability – Christine Williamson
It’s no great surprise that owners don’t like to think about risk, performance, or durability when it comes to their own homes. Many of them understand home design to be only slightly more complicated than outfitting a Range Rover, with their architect or builder serving as chief consultant, helping them choose just the right shade of Napa leather for the interior. But while technical discussions understandably make homeowners uneasy, most of them are very much aware that their house is their single most expensive asset, their primary vehicle for savings and investment, and that it shelters and protects the people they love most in the world. This presentation is about how to use building science as a tool not just for communicating risk, performance, and durability to your clients, but also for understanding those things yourself in order to manage your own risk, provide competent advice to your clients, and do work that you’re proud of.
The Final Word on Vapor Barriers – Peter Yost
Returning for his second year at the Summit, Yost will tackle one of the most prevalent and reoccurring questions among builders trying to do the right thing: “do I need a vapor barrier/retarder?” The question isn’t always easy, but there is a definitive process to finding the answer. Yost will discuss the much-feared double vapor barrier, the moisture-buffering capabilities of different materials and why that matters, and most importantly, how to think through each assembly on a case-by-case basis. By the end of this session, attendees will be able to confidently assess any floor, wall, or roof, in any new build or remodel, and determine whether a vapor retarder is a bad idea, an advisable idea, or a must, and how to choose the right product option when needed.
The Air We Breathe – Jordan Goldman
In this session, mechanical expert Goldman will talk about all things IAQ (indoor air quality), including the need for ventilation, sorting through the decision between balanced ventilation and exhaust-only ventilation, the similarities and differences of ERVs and HRVs, calculating and providing makeup air for range hoods, the problems of wood burning stoves, and general ventilation system best practices and the pitfalls you need to avoid. This advanced-level class will arm attendees with a deeper understanding of IAQ, and how to choose and design systems that will keep building occupants healthy.
Does Advanced Framing Make Sense? – Mike Guertin
For every pro there’s a con. For every detail there’s a learning curve and for every advanced framing adopter there are hundreds of dissenters. What is it about the details that drive those dissenters nuts and why does Mike find the same details simple to execute? Mike will take you on a short house-framing history tour from the 1850’s to today’s high performance–yet conventionally built–homes. He’ll discuss his wide-embracing approach to advanced framing from mudsills and floors to roof cutting and truss design (with a little bit about walls in-between), get into the weeds on details for framing openings and headers, partitions and corner backers, and stud lengths, and he’ll explain why he still often wonders “does advanced framing make sense in today’s high-performance building world?”
A Case for Double Stud Walls – Dan Kolbert and Ben Bogie
The ideal wall is debated constantly among conscientious builders, and, not surprisingly, opinions vary. Amidst the endless debate among conscientious builders over the ideal wall assembly, and having tried a lot of options, Kolbert and Bogie keep coming back to one approach: double-stud walls filled with dense-pack cellulose insulation. This approach to creating a high R-value wall assembly not only relies on an insulation you can feel good about, but it’s relatively affordable, easy to build and detail, and can dry in both directions. In this session, Kolbert and Bogie will share their thoughts on building safe, durable double stud walls—often contrary to what modeling software predicts—as well as discuss the individual components of the assembly, and their workflow for making things practical and efficient.
Get Your House Right – Marianne Cusato
Expanding on the content of her book by the same name, Cusato will use this session to explain why and how so many traditional-style buildings miss the mark in terms of architectural style. Cusato will give attendees a tour of the foundational architectural elements of a house, how they work together, and how to use them appropriately in new construction and remodeling work. This class will be equally relevant to designers and builders, with skill levels from beginner to expert.
Building Houses that Capture Carbon – Chris Magwood
Is your energy-efficient building helping the climate, or causing unintended harm? Our buildings have a very significant climate impact from the harvesting, transportation, and manufacturing of materials, and these “up-front” emissions can erase all our energy efficiency efforts for decades if we’re not paying attention to our material selections. In this session, you will learn about the up-front emissions from materials, how they compare to operation emissions, and how to design and build at truly zero-carbon building. Magwood will discuss what “embodied carbon” means, how it’s calculated, and what the impact looks like for a building–especially compared to the operational carbon footprint.
The Building Science of ‘the Lid’ – Kohta Ueno
So many choices when it comes to roof-attic-ceiling assemblies: vented roofs? Unvented attics? And spray foam—some folks love it, others hate it. We will dive into the building science of these assemblies, with what works, what’s on the edge, and what doesn’t work—with case studies where things went very wrong. It will include a grab-bag of roof topics, including SIPS panels, ice damming, using dense pack cellulose to retrofit existing roofs, and ‘cut and cobble’ insulation.
Rethinking Hot Water – Gary Klein
Do you know anyone who waits a long time to get hot water somewhere in their house? Someone who has installed circulation pumps and controls to “fix” the problem, but then the customer complains about that? What if we could design homes to minimize the distance between the source(s) of hot water and the use? And what if it actually cost significantly less to build these homes? This session will explore the concept of architectural compactness and hot water systems and provide guidance on how to improve hot water system performance regardless of the floorplan.
Be Not Uncomfortable – Sonia Barrantes and Jake Staub
In this session, mechanical system designers Sonia Barrantes & Jake Staub will take attendees on a journey through sustainability country to assemble a figurative bag of hammers that attendees can use to massage misinformed sustainable building clients, designers, and designs into shape. Barrantes & Staub will address questions like: What makes humans comfortable? What building systems are best at producing comfortable humans? What must the envelope system do to make the best mechanical system viable? What proven meeting room strategy is available to turn conceptual best building system concepts into completed best building system projects? What’s in it for those that design and build the best building systems for humans? And finally, what happens to sustainability when comfortable building systems are delivered to humans?
Designing a High-Performance House, Step by Step – Michael Maines
Conventional construction is complicated enough; when you build high performance homes, mistakes can be disastrous, as these projects often include unfamiliar components and assemblies, and low heating loads provide little energy for drying. Residential designer Michael Maines shows how he uses the Pretty Good House Guideposts (prettygoodhouse.org) to think through every detail so there are no surprises once construction starts. Warning: if you enjoy the excitement of figuring things out on the fly and putting out fires when problems occur, you may find that running well-planned projects is boring in comparison.
Things You Can Do Tomorrow to be a Better Builder – Jake Bruton
Being a high performance builder doesn’t have to be complicated, specialized, or reliant on fancy materials. In this breakout session Bruton will share his methods for building durable, airtight, efficient houses using conventional materials and keeping things on the job-site within the comfort zone of most builders.