New Design Paradigm Unleashed at BEST 2 Conference

Portland, Oregon

The second Building Enclosure Science and Technology Conference (BEST 2 2010) was held in Portland, Oregon in April and hosted by the Building Enclosure Council and the Portland chapter.  For a new conference in a difficult economy, I was amazed at the level of participation. The conference presented leading research from the United States, Europe and Canada and combined academic as well as real world applications and examples of successful projects. 

It is no secret that buildings account for 48 percent of all Green House Gas emissions annually and consume 40 percent of all energy.  There is an ever present push to develop new sustainable solutions to existing systems.  With the adoption of reductions in green house gas emissions by governments, building professionals and manufacturers are in need of identifying and implementing new ways to solve issues relating to energy efficiency, moisture management, acoustics and hygrothermal performance.

The three day Conference was divided into three tracks: Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Whole Building Performance and Fenestration Solutions all focusing on what is being called the New Design Paradigm for Energy Efficient Buildings. The message was that it is not enough to address the efficient use of energy.  It’s the durability of buildings, indoor air quality and livability that also must be addressed.

Like most technical conferences there was too much information to cover. I focused my attention on design strategies to improve energy efficiency and hygrothermal performance of different types of building envelope systems.  Many speakers highlighted the ramifications of poorly integrated new technologies, the need for greater insulation levels and building air tightness while maintaining building durability.

Design professionals must keep up with the latest research in building envelope technology in order to accelerate the drive towards net-zero energy buildings.  The BEST 2 Conference, like the ASHRAE forums, is an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and best practices.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences.

Stan Gatland is Manager, Building Science Technology for CertainTeed Corporation

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