November 25, 2013   — Fall 2013

The “building science education community”, including the DOE Task Force on Building Science Education, Joint Committee on Building Science Education (i.e., Joint Committee), the BETEC Education Committee, EEBA, ACI, technical societies, university organizations, and others, has made significant progress in the past year since DOE held the “Building Science Education Summit” in November 2012 — and its publication of a building science education roadmap. That Summit built on several efforts over the last decade supporting building science education, including the January 2011 DOE/HUD “Excellence in Building Science Education” workshop. Building science education is now widely supported by the building science community, particularly with the support and coordination of the new DOE Task Force on Building Science Education and its many partners.

This Building Science Education Update summarizes recent progress and addresses our next steps.

Below, we note the immediate need for support in pulling together recommendations on teaching resources for universities participating in the DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition and other student design competitions. We will be wrapping up our initial (preliminary) set of recommendations in Clearwater, FL at BUILDINGS XII (see December. 2 meeting); and also finalizing preparations for the April 6, 2014 Toronto symposium with ASTM/NIBS. This year, we will expand our work to establish the criteria for rating building science curricula, courses and teaching materials – which would tie core competencies to curricula and course learning outcomes. Our work is scheduled to produce resources and metrics useful to universities starting in the near term and and on an on-going basis. However, along with continuing changes in building science, this work will need to continue for many years.

With your help, we can continue and expand our work this coming year.


Request for Information on Teaching Resources

Please help us identify and recommend teaching resource for building science, and also, identify examples of good university building science education curricula and courses (including examples of incorporation of building science in standard corses).

Because we are trying to develop a listing of select teaching resources for the DOE student design competitions, we would appreciate your initial recommendations and comments by December 1, with additional or revised comments by Dec. 9.  Please email your recommendations and comments to:  .

We held a BETEC Education Committee/Criteria Task Group Joint Meeting (conference call) on November 21, 2013 to discuss our current lists and initial recommendations for teaching resources and university building science programs.  The meeting was co-chaired by Pat Huelman and Paul Totten.   (click here for draft agenda) 

We are planning further reviews of teaching materials at the BUILDINGS XII conference.  The listing of resources would be a “living document” continually updated as new resources and reviews are available.  It will be posted on the Task Group on Criteria for Excellence in Building Science Curricula’s  Working Files” page, and as a consensus develops, added to the resources page.

Work of the Joint Committee’s Programs and Task Groups

The work of the Joint Committee is conducted primarily through its programs and task groups, and collaboration with other building science education programs, particularly those of the US Department of Energy, BETEC, ASTM, EEBA and ACI.  It initial programs and task groups include:

  • Task Group on Criteria for Excellence in Building Science Curricula (i.e., Criteria Task Group)
  • Awards Committee – selection and presentation of the Annual Award for Excellence in Building Science Education
  • Collaboration with, and Support of:
    • DOE Task Force on Building Science Education
    • DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition and other DOE and university student design and construction competitions;
    • ASTM E06.55 certification and building science education activities
    • NIBS/BETEC Education Committee
    • ACI/EEBA Community of Interest.
  • Development and expansion of our website for sharing teaching resources

Recent Events

– see website for regular updates

  • October 4, Irvine, CA, during the Housing Innovation Awards event, and adjunct to the 2013 Solar Decathlon  — Dr. Andrew McCoy, NCHRC Chairman, presented the 2013 Annual Excellence in Building Science Education Award  to Patrick H. Huelman, U MN – (see Events/News page)
  • The DOE Task Force on Building Science Education held meetings in Phoenix, AZ and Washington, DC.  The Joint Committee’s Criteria Task Group provided key presentations:
    • September 24, adjunct to the EEBA conference in Phoenix, AZ, identified current DOE plans for building science education, and Pat Huelman presented the work of the Criteria Task Group, including distribution and discussion of several hand-outs (e.g., current building science definitions, core competencies, matrices of key disciplines vs. subject areas needed for design & construction of high performance buildings. (read more)
    • October 28, a set of pre-meetings were held for the DOE Building America Program, including a meeting of the DOE Task Force on Building Science Education.  Updates were provided to the Building America research teams. Pat Huelman, Chairman of the Criteria Task Group, identified recent work, as well as recently updated matrices on “core competencies” vs. the different professions and trades supporting the construction industry.
    • October 28 – The Home Innovation Research Labs provided its steering committee a conference call review of the DOE Challenge Home Student Design Competition.  Recommendations by the steering committee will be implemented.  As of early November, fifteen universities and colleges from the United States and Canada have assembled teams to compete in the Student Design Competition (see Events Page sidebar).  A final outreach is expected to expand participation prior to the December 16 registration deadline.   On November 3, a webinar was held for the faculty advisers from the initial set participating universities. (read more)
  • August 4 – The Criteria Task Group, in addition to providing key presentations at the DOE meetings, held a meeting in Westford, MA adjunct to the BSC Westford Symposium on Building Science.
  • October 21ASTM E06.55 held meetings in Jacksonville, FL continuing the development of an ASTM/NIBS certification program for building materials and enclosures professionals.  Preparations to organize a “building science education symposium” with NIBS, Joint Committee, and other co-sponsorship continued. (draft meeting summary, PDF)  (read more)
  • NIBS/BETEC Education Committee  – Paul Totten restarted the Fall season of monthly conference call meetings on building science education topics with large participation from educators throughout North America. The BETEC Education Committee meets approximately once a month for eight months out of the year. The focus of the group is advancing building science and technology programs at the institutional level, while supporting efforts in STEM programs and professional training. The group shares information among committee members, which includes teaching methodologies, syllabus information, and recent discussions and meetings through the fall will concentrate on life after University level education as practitioners.
  • ACI/EEBA initiated a “Community of Interest” social media site in June 2013.  This effort is expected to be updated and continued by Stacy Hunt to engage discussion and input.


Future Events

– see website Events page for regular updates and additional events

    • Dec. 2, 2013 (Monday) – BUILDINGS XII – Building Science Education Update, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Beach Room, Sheraton Sand Key, Clearwater Beach, FL – Speakers: Sam Rashkin, DOE, Dan Lemieux, ASTM E06.55, Pat Huelman, Joint Committee’s Criteria Task Group, Paul Totten, NIBS – BETEC Education Committee, and others.  Side meetings will be announced at the Update to review and discuss teaching materials and university programs.
    • Feb. 3, 2014 – National Consortium of Housing Research Centers Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, adjunct to the NAHB International Builders Show ….
    • Feb. 19-20, 20142nd Residential Design & Construction Conference, Penn State, University Park, PA
    • April 6, 2014ASTM/NIBS/Joint Committee Symposium on Building Science Education, Toronto Sheraton, Toronto, ON. — The Toronto workshop will include presentations from invited speakers recognized in Canada and the United States as subject-matter experts in Building Science certification, training, and curriculum development.  Topics to be discussed will include an overview of building science education as it currently exists in North America, followed by a critical review of graduate-level curricula currently available in building science and how that curricula can be further developed and refined to more effectively educate architects, engineers, and construction professionals.  The workshop will conclude with a critical review of the ASTM/NIBS Building Enclosure Certification and Training Program currently under development and how that curriculum can be developed to align with curricula at colleges and universities in Canada and the U.S. to satisfy the certification requirements being developed by ASTM and offer a new opportunity for professional development, certification, and career advancement in architecture and engineering.  Students, professors, and lecturers in Building Science, as well as practicing architects, engineers, and risk management professionals should attend.