Building Science Guild

2017 BSG Meeting Topics
Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing Thanks!
Meetings are usually held from 4 – 7 pm at the SEON Conference Room (Friends of the Sun building), 532 Putney Rd., Brattleboro, VT. – unless otherwise noted.
(Meetings are usually the fourth Wednesday of the month.)

NEXT BSG Meeting: Wednesday, November 15th, 5 – 8 pm (different from our date and time!): “Alex Wilson and Alan Benoit discuss BuildingGreen’s latest Insulation Report, plus ThermalBuck Windows” Location: TBD


Jan. 25: “Deep Energy Retrofits”  Jonathan Morse presents a case study.


Feb. 22: “High Performance Building”  Chad Mathrani, owner of Vermont Natural Homes, and Bob Swinburne, architect and owner of Bluetime Collaborative, will lead a discussion on the definition of a high performance home.


Mar. 22: “Foundation Design for New Construction”  Alan Benoit, architect and owner of Sustainable Design, shares product/process information.


Apr. 26: “Builders Discussion”  Case study presented by Steve Sebastian, followed by presentation of building dilemmas and possible solutions.


May 24: “Negative Side Waterproofing: How well can it really work?” If concrete basement walls and/or floors are wet or damp from actual water leaking in from the exterior, which—if any—of the coating products work, applied from the inside (negative side)? We will review what manufacturers assert, what the research tells us, and see if SEON’s “Wingnut Test Facility” approach to developing real-world benchtop or field testing is indicated and what it might look like. Peter Yost, Technical Director at BuildingGreen, Inc., will lead the discussion.


June 28: “High Performance Plan Set” Bob Swinburne and Chad Mathrani will bring two sets of plans. One is the Greenfield house plan set, the other is a stock plan based on the Greenfield plans with refinements and a different method of construction. They’ll cover how to address building quality issues within the plans, including air sealing strategy, and will discuss the teamwork aspect of how the plans were created.


July & August – summer rrecess


Sept. 27: “Construction Business Basics”  Mel Baiser, HELM Construction Solutions, is the presenter. Topics include Project Management, client management principles, operating budget, Pricing 101, mark-up/margin, etc.


Oct. 25: “Home monitoring (products and process – moisture, air quality, relative humidity, temperature)


Nov. 15: Alex Wilson and Alan Benoit discuss BuildingGreen’s latest Insulation Report, plus ThermalBuck Windows


Email to be added to our Building Science Guild email list and receive monthly emails with meeting details and other relevant information.


The Building Science Guild is the first working group of SEON.  Following the devastation of Hurricane Irene, there was a need for building professionals to understand the effects of water and vapor management.   A course was designed and conducted by Peter Yost of BuildingGreen, Inc., (Advancing Green Building and Building Science: The Keys to Managing Moisture), and over 40 building practitioners attended in the SE Vermont region.  The need for ongoing learning was recognized and now each month over 20 high performance building professionals meet for 3 hours to advance their understanding of building science principles especially as it pertains to the problems they confront on their worksite.


Peter Yost facilitating a Building Science Guild issue.

Members are general and building performance contractors, architects, building energy consultants, faculty from higher education and secondary schools, manufacturers, building suppliers, and students at nearby colleges.  Core to the agenda items is the opportunity for attendees to present their current job site challenges: 1.) Problem Analysis, or 2.) Decision Analysis, or 3.) Product Selection.  Fundamental to this group’s success and camaraderie is a culture of humor.  While the subject matter is serious, member’s enjoy one another, don’t hold back from playfully poking fun at one another and even themselves, reliving the silliness of an exchange, dealing with incompatible regulations, or simply having fun with words.  The work is challenging, but the climate is one of support.  The fear of losing one’s competitive advantage within a group of colleagues is not evident.


Building on the success of these meetings, outside organizations throughout New England have presented their process recommendations for high performance buildings…the promotion of product information is not the intent.   “Road Trips” are always a welcomed opportunity to visit innovative projects in Vermont.

Vermod Visit 06122014 (1)

VERMOD High Performance facility in Wilder, VT

The Guild encouraged Peter Yost of BuildingGreen to deliver his foundation course to all VT Career Center Construction and Related Trade instructors and high school science teachers during July of 2014.  Guild members were concerned that graduates of the Career Centers did not have the essential entry level knowledge of building science.  To ensure this acquired knowledge, it was felt that all Building Trades instructors in Vermont be introduced to the basic competencies of Building Science.   With this knowledge, the instructors could begin the process of revising Vermont’s Building Trades curriculum and competencies.


In addition the Guild will serve as the pilot for an advanced course on Zero Energy Remodeling.  The Guild was recognized by Efficiency Vermont as the crucial group to provide input for the design and delivery of this innovative course designed and delivered by Peter Yost.  Successful completers will be awarded the Efficiency Vermont Zero Energy Remodeler designation.


Testimonial:  “I appreciated the session (referencing The Building Science Guild of SEON) and what each person brought to the discussion.  I certainly felt there was respect for the process and for my work, which is essential.  This is an amazing resource for exploring building science questions and best practices.  I feel lucky and honored to be part of this group.


I look forward to future meetings and to contributing as I can. Keep me posted on plans and goals and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. “  Ethan Cole, Owner Earthshare Construction