Building Performance Contractors Association

Building Science Workshop

Designing, Constructing, and Retrofitting Low Energy Buildings: Tools, Techniques and Technologies
with John Straube, Ph.D., P. Eng.

October 15, 2010 -- Rochester, NY
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Registration starts at 7:00 a.m.



National Grid

LOCAL SPONSORSB&L Wholesale Supply

BPI Recognized TrainingIn this one-day seminar, John Straube will examine challenging techniques for heating, cooling and ventilating low energy buildings, including: natural ventilation, radiant heating and cooling, and passive design approaches for commercial and advanced residential building enclosures.

Low-energy use buildings are back in fashion given the rise of energy prices and the concern about global climate change and the environment in particular. This seminar will investigate some specific -- and so-called "advanced" -- topics in heating, cooling, and ventilating low-energy buildings.

To start, we will approach these topics with an understanding of the underlying physical principles. We will investigate what range of temperature, humidity, radiation, and airspeed conditions are needed to provide human comfort. The inadequacy of the 72 ◦F thermostat setting" will be explored along with explanations of "Why Italian cathedrals feel comfortable in 95 ◦F sunny weather with no air conditioning," and "How the Empire State Building was used in steamy New York City without air conditioning."

We will follow this discussion with an overview of the basic approaches to providing ventilation, cooling and heating. A heating, cooling, and ventilation load analysis of an example office building will be presented in detail to describe the science and explain the origin of a range of rules of thumb for mechanical systems. The impact of highly insulated enclosures, exterior shading, heat recovery, and other technologies will be progressively explored to demonstrate the potential paradigm-bursting impact on normal thinking about HVAC systems. We will discuss the relative importance of glazing, occupancy, ventilation, climate, and enclosure air-tightness and insulation.

Next, the physics behind radiant cooling, radiant heating, and chilled beams will be described and discussed. The use of these technologies in leading edge ultra low energy buildings will be presented along with their potential, their limitations, and several important warnings.

Everyone seems to want to do naturally ventilated buildings. Why they want to do this is not always so clear. The reasons why and the science behind them will be explored. Finally, the interaction of the exterior climate zone, interior activities, and human comfort requirements will be discussed.

Workshop Includes

  • A light continental breakfast, lunch and two coffee breaks


Monroe Community College - Brighton Campus
1000 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, NY  14623
Map / Directions


Additional Information


Cost: $225 BPCA Members
         $250 Non-Members
         $50 Student Registration

Pay by Check

If you plan to pay by check, use the registration link above and simply select Check as your Payment Method.  Thus, you do not need to fill in any of the credit card information.  Make check out to BPCA/NYS and send your check to:

21 North Street
Baldwinsville, NY 13027

Payment is required, in advance.  Your registration is not complete until payment is received.

Refund Policy

Registration refund requests received by email will be honored up to seven days prior to the event. After that time, refunds will not be granted.

For more information about this event, contact:
Jim Hammel, 315.638.1757,