3 Hot Topics Served Crunchy by Positive Energy

What do heat pump water heaters, ERVs, and low static VRF systems have in common? You’re picturing them and we’re talking about them! Join Kristof in a wide-ranging discussion of building science topics with consultant John Semmelhack of Think Little

John Semmelhack

John Semmelhack

John Semmelhack is the owner of Think Little. He is a Certified Passive House Consultant, a member of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) Technical Committee, and is a PHIUS Trainer for the Certified Passive House Consultant and PHIUS+ Rater training programs. He sits on the boards of the Passive House Alliance U.S. (PHAUS) and the Passive House Alliance U.S. – Capital Chapter.

John is also a certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater, a Technical Advisor to builders in the EarthCraft House Virginia green building program, and a BPI-certified Building Analyst. He is a graduate of the Leeds School of Business (no, not that “LEED”) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

What Do Spec Homes Dream Of? by Positive Energy

If your house could go down a highway at 70MPH, would you trust your architect and builder to make sure it’s not going to fall apart?

Let’s face it - most people can’t build custom homes just like most people can’t afford a Lamborghini. It’s just not a financial reality for so many of us. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want a car that doesn’t work well and it doesn’t mean we don’t want a high quality home to live in. It sure as hell doesn’t mean we don’t want a healthy environment for ourselves and our families. So what are the economic drivers of a healthy, high quality, affordable home? Join Kristof as he interviews Ben Broughton about the trends in construction economics, job site processes, market dynamics, and the ins-and-outs of quality.

Ben Broughton


Ben is the Design Build Operations Director for Ames Design Build and oversees the execution of all construction projects. He holds a graduate degree in Construction Science and Management, through which his passion for research resulted in publications in peer-reviewed journals.  He is a building science student who uses his extensive experience in both commercial and residential construction to vertically integrate the land development and high-end residential components of Ames Design Build. Ben is a key driver of the company’s unique business model, which focuses on building to the highest degree of quality while adhering to exacting schedules and budget control in order to ensure success in each Ames Design Build project. Ben rejects the paradigm that you can't simultaneously be on-time, on budget, and achieve high quality.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

What should we have for dinner? The question has confronted us since man discovered fire, but according to Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Botany of Desire, how we answer it today, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, may well determine our very survival as a species. Should we eat a fast-food hamburger? Something organic? Or perhaps something we hunt, gather, or grow ourselves? The omnivore’s dilemma has returned with a vengeance, as the cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet confronts us with a bewildering and treacherous food landscape. What’s at stake in our eating choices is not only our own and our children’s health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth.

What The Heck Is HOMEChem? by Positive Energy

This week’s episode features an interview with Corbett Lunsford on the HOMEChem experiments that were being conducted alongside the filming of a brand new, building science focused show called Home Diagnosis TV (be on the lookout for that). Of course, we're really excited about the potential of Indoor Air Quality education coming to the masses. It's the future fulcrum point of housing and health care.

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5 Principles Of A Healthy Home by Positive Energy

Health is the new green - this message is seemingly everywhere these days. It's clear that a shift is underway in the way we think about our homes and buildings. A quality building does more than just use energy efficiently, it needs to provide for the occupants. This means recognizing that our clients will spend their time immersed in the air we create for them and that indoor air is a dominant exposure. Now is the time to get clear on how our homes and buildings relate to health, comfort and well-being and, more importantly, what to do about it. 

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The Building Science Podcast Presents: The Build Show by Positive Energy

The Building Science Podcast proudly presents a crossover episode with The Build Show. If you haven’t heard of The Build Show yet, now you have. Matt Risinger of Risinger & Co. has a widely popular YouTube channel that you should check out after you hear this episode. It’s dedicated to building science, fine craftsmanship, and exploring the products and techniques available to builders today.

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Locavore Dirt Construction? by Positive Energy

In this episode of the podcast, we interview Brad King of Earthbound Builders in Austin, TX. Brad is the brains and brawns behind applications of locally abundant, natural, minimally processed, low embodied energy building materials. His company is endeavoring to make natural building materials part of the main stream building processes rather than a custom, "hippie" solution.

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Welcome To The Filtration Station by Positive Energy

Today we talk about one of the most important building science topics that many folks don't know enough about - air filtration. It’s a crucial infrastructure element for a healthy home and good indoor air quality. Who knew there was so many important considerations for this often overlooked and ignored component of our industry?

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Let's Get Legal-ish by Positive Energy

When we think about building science, we're thinking about systems and the unseen forces that contribute to the success or failure of a building. Some of the largest and most complicated systems and unseen forces in the AEC industry are the contracts that make or break a project. Join Kristof as he interviews construction attorney, Joe Basham, on all things funky and legal in the AEC industry.

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Architectural Yogurt by Positive Energy

Put on your microbiology hats, folks. This episode of The Building Science podcast will dive into the great unseen world of microorganisms all around us inside our buildings down to the level of the ecosystems that grow on our HVAC coils. We're truly at a time when the health sciences and the building sciences are becoming more closely related than ever before and the future is a weird, wonderful world of intersectional and interdisciplinary scientific inquiry. Join us as Kristof interviews, Graeme Marsh about the weirdness of biofilms that you can't even see right before your very eyes. 

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Our Homes, Our Health by Positive Energy

It's normal these days to pay attention to what we eat. But what about the steady diet of air we breathe and soak ourselves in?  The impact of homes on health somehow manages to stay below the radar. Even our language is a bit evasive. Why do we say "sick building syndrome"? The buildings aren't sick, the people are. 

This episode is a step toward helping this important topic get some long-overdue and much-needed attention. Join us for an interview with Bill Hayward and Carl Grimes that took place at the 2018 IAQA Conference in Chicago, IL. as we discuss the Hayward Healthy Home Score. We hope you enjoy, take the quiz yourself, and share with your friends and families. 

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Forget What You Know About Buildings: An Interview With Kiel Moe by Positive Energy

In this episode, Kristof interviews Kiel Moe of Harvard's GSD about the energy flows and multiple re-thinkings necessary to change the future of construction and design. You may remember reading about Kiel's inspiration to us at Positive Energy in our blog post about the thermally active surface system we installed in our office, compliments of the fine and wonderful people at Messana and SpacePak. This episode is definitely headier than most of ours, so buckle in and be ready to hit pause, rewind, and take notes if you need. We couldn't be more thrilled that he stopped by the office to chat. 

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The Secret Life Of Concrete by Positive Energy

Concrete is everywhere. We all see it every day but what do we really know about concrete? This seemingly simple material is any but simple. Listen and learn about the past, present and future of this evolving technology. Prepare to have your mind blown in this episode of the show as we explore the incredible history and composition of concrete with Matt Carlton and Lee Lawrence of WJE. You'll never see concrete the same way again.

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