Why You Can’t Make Sustainable Buildings Without Building Science

John Straube Ph.D., P.Eng.

RDH Building Science, Inc.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

at 6:00 pm


There are many approaches taken to meeting the need for more sustainable buildings. Too many “green” or “sustainable” design choices are based on myth, feelings, even innuendo. The results are not just buildings that are less sustainable than they could be, but outright building failures.  To be effective, the choices and decisions made during design must be based on a rational assessment. Building science is the body of technical knowledge that supports effective decision making. The presentation will introduce building science as a discipline and explore real world examples of sustainable building design: from earth plastered strawbale, failed “all natural” schools, to low-carbon institutional design.


John Straube, Ph.D., P.Eng., is a Principal at RDH Building Science, where he conducts forensic investigations, assists with the design of new high performance buildings, and leads research projects in the areas of low-energy building design, building enclosure performance, hygrothermal analysis, and field performance monitoring. Dr. Straube is also a cross-appointed faculty member in the School of Architecture and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He was a Principal at Building Science Corporation from 2006 to 2013, and is the author or co-author of over 100 published technical papers, author of the book High Performance Enclosures and co-author, with Eric Burnett, of Building Science for Building Enclosures. Dr. Straube’s leadership as a building scientist and an educator has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in Building Science Education from the National Consortium of Housing Research Centers (NCHRC).

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