The Merits of NESEA's BuildingEnergy
As we near the end of 2010, budgeting for 2011 is in full swing. Although I plan to skip several of the trade shows and conferences I have regularly attended for years, there is one event I refuse to miss: BuildingEnergy, which is hosted by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association.
I attended my first BuildingEnergy, or BE, conference in 2008 and was completely blown away by the content and enthusiasm of attendees and presenters. By that time, I had been working in the green-building industry for five years as editor of a nationally circulated green-building magazine and had only met fragmented groups of people discussing the issues that were the main focus of BE’s program. NESEA’s members are passionate about building smarter buildings, being accountable for their work and wiping out greenwashing. I immediately was a fan of NESEA and began telling everyone I knew about BE’s merits.
In 2009 and this year (BE is held annually in March in Boston), I attended the opening Public Forum and both days of the conference and took copious notes during every session, keynote, presentation and networking event I attended. I’d like to share a few words of wisdom I heard at this year’s BE that have inspired me to keep forging ahead to improve our nation’s buildings:
“Treat the future like we do death; just prepare the best you can.” –Author Sharon Astyk during the Public Forum, Case Studies of the Way Forward: Creative Solutions to Global Crises
“We are meant to be connected. Our community has been taken from us, and we’ve been told we can do everything alone.” –Transition Towns Activist Tina Clarke during the Public Forum
“Offshore oil drilling will not make a big difference, nor will ethanol.” –Dr. Samuel Baldwin, chief technology officer and member of the board of directors Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, keynote address during the Opening Plenary
“’Scorekeeping’ is the first step but then you need to figure out what a winning score is. This helps you get your clients somewhere important. Run the numbers and show that they’re here and open the conversation to getting there.” –Paul Eldenkamp of Byggmeister Inc. during Counting, Measuring, Reporting: What’s Important?
“I did a show and tell at my son’s school and explained to the kids that old doesn’t mean throw away.” –John Seekircher during Upgrading Windows in Historic and Non-Historic Buildings
“Spiders are indicators of airflow; they build webs where there’s wind, so they can easily go for food. Go up into the plenum above the ceiling; you shouldn’t see light at the roof-to-wall connection.” –Larry Harmon of Air Barrier Solutions LLC during What’s Up with the Gaps, Cracks and Holes?
“One calculation to figure out dewpoint is dumb because that doesn’t figure how the wall acts during the entire year.” –Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corp. during How to: Vapor Barriers, Insulating Sheathing and Drying Potential
“In a conventional wall, 25 percent of the wall is framing, which kills us on insulation. Eliminate wood and add more insulation.” –Chet Pascho of Preferred Building Systems during Alternative Framing Systems: Advanced Framing, Prefab, Modular
Would you like to read more? Larry Harmon wrote “Simple Steps,” which you can read on Eco-Logic. The article compares your home to a child in winter and goes through a systematic approach to keep it warm. As you can see from this article, much of what NESEA’s members speak and write about can be adopted throughout the country. I hope to provide more articles from NESEA’s members and BE’s presenters on Eco-Logic, so you can tap into their collective genius.
To get even more BE content, I highly recommend you attend BE11 at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, March 8-10, 2011. The planning committee has been in full swing for months, thinking about how to keep the conference informative and considering how the current world should affect the way NESEA’s members and BE’s conference attendees think as they take their businesses into an uncertain future.