Listening to podcasts is a great way to expand your understanding of the world. As a podcaster myself, I love to ask questions and then sit back and listen to other people’s stories and their takes on our industry, and how the built environment affects each and every one of us so profoundly. It’s an honour to be invited to chat, too: this spring, I got to be in the guest chair on The Conscious Builder, Plugged In, and The Edifice Complex.
Our work in home construction and renovation is like a quilt - it’s not a seamless piece of fabric, we’re not a monolith industry. There are dangling threads, scraps of really old material and samples of new material. There are swatches of fabrics specific to regions, climates, lifestyles, policies, economics, and time-frames. We have diverse bits and pieces, themes and colours to combine in different ways: energy conservation, sustainability, carbon loading, climate change mitigation, the housing crisis, the labour market crisis, housing policy impacts, financing, equity, diversity, accessibility, resource conservation, building durability and resilience, occupant health and safety, planning, development, ethics, life in general.
Each of these can be a speciality, a deep dive to be viewed by themselves, but none of them exist separately or independently of each other. To keep pushing the quilting analogy: you gather the little pieces, sew them all together into the top piece, add layers to support the top piece, and then stitch through to create a stronger, more resilient and beautiful textile. That’s what we need now, because the construction and renovation industry is fragmented and all of the associated fields are siloed.
Expand Your Understanding of the Built Environment
The more I listen, the more I realize how much I don’t know. The built environment - not just houses - affects us all so profoundly! We have the legacy of what is here, now. Millions of houses that need to be brought up to a better standard quickly, as we can’t mow them all down and replace them with high performance units fast enough to house people. And why would we mow down millions of houses that are in good condition anyway? Think of all the resources that are embedded in all of those buildings! Yet who can afford to do a deep energy retrofit? Who can afford a new house?
Equity, accessibility, affordability: there are a lot of pieces to contemplate and there will be no silver bullet solution. What works in one market will not work in another, based on energy mixes, climate, housing stock vintage and construction, code compliance, local bylaws, workforce capacity, socio-economic issues, political will and housing policies.
That’s a lot to think about.
Get so full of Building Science it will come out of your ears!
Sooooooo, to keep expanding what we think about, here’s a great list of building science/ building science adjacent podcasts for you to dive into, as recommended by BHE colleagues. Whether you’re a newbie to the industry or an experienced builder, renovator, contractor, or Energy Advisor, you’re going to learn so much.
There’s a monster selection of residential construction and renovation topics to choose from. Whether you’re into new high performance housing or deep energy retrofits, the role of automation in construction, the best ways to manage a construction business, or the wiley ways of policy makers and breakers, it’s in this list.
I am always amazed at the depth of knowledge people have developed. There are so many interesting and wide-ranging conversations to listen to in this list - from short form instructional info to long form conversations.
I love that there’s a cool general interest category we didn’t even ask for!
Shameless self-promotion (because I get to talk to so many incredibly interesting people!)
This Must Be The Place
- The Conscious Builder (Shawna was guest #172)
- Plugged In (Shawna is upcoming guest)
- The Edifice Complex (Shawna is upcoming guest)
- ASHRAE Journal podcast
- Fine Homebuilding podcast
- E3 Podcast (Energy and Efficiency with Emily)
- Green Architect's Lounge (not currently being produced but a good listen)
- UnBuildIt podcast
- Better Construction with Sean McStay
- Building Performance Podcast
- Tim Faller Show
- Building HVAC Science
- IAQ Radio
- The Building Science Podcast
- BS and Beer Show
- The Art of Construction
Bonus round of general interest podcasts:
- Ologies with Alie Ward (Shawna’s all-time favourite)
- 70 over 70
- Mindscapes (Steampunk Quantum Thermodynamics anyone!?!)
- History Chicks