Not everyone cares about building science.

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Guess what? As much as we enjoy nerding out about building science not everyone shares our enthusiasm. This can be very frustrating when we are trying to sell our ideas and have them implemented.

I was on the phone to Mark LaLiberte of Construction Instruction a couple of days ago and he had some very wise words for me regarding this. (The following is paraphrased, we had a long chat).

"As passionate as you are about building science and as knowledgeable as you are, not everyone is going to share your passion. It's no good telling people what they should do and expect them to take your advice. In order to sell, you need to ask people what they want and give them what they want. Ask them what their priority is. Is it comfort, is it air quality, is it structural durability, is it off grid living, is it carbon emissions or is it energy efficiency? Once you establish what they want and what they are passionate about, you can then use your building science knowledge to deliver on their request".

Blurting out all the facets of building science can be overwhelming and off-putting for many people. After one of my lengthy explanations I received the comment, "Since when did building a house become so difficult?"

It is important to listen to people. Ask some sincere questions to discover their priorities, then offer a solution in a way that makes sense to them. This is an honest transaction that is mutually beneficial. It's also what they call a win-win.

LESSON: Be humble, listen, and help. At least that was Mark's advice to me.

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Comments

  • I have found that converting the Science into tangible things that relate specifically to comfort, health, livability and energy use are how to bridge the gap.

    I use anecdotal information from other projects to make that happen as well as analogies related to air infiltration. I have developed several methods to bringing building science into the realm of the layman in meaningful ways.   

    • great stuff Todd. Thanks for your comment. You have obviously mastered the art of communication. My initial mistake was overenthusiastically blurting out information without noticing the blank stares looking back at me. You are right, the more jobs we do the more anecdotal evidence we can use to explain in a meningful way. 

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