Quotes of the Day: Joe Lstiburek on the good, the bad and the ugly side of buildings

Joseph Lstiburek
© Joseph Lstiburek/ Andrew Michler

That guy making hand shadow puppets is Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation. Besides being an expert on building envelopes he has a way with words, which you can read in Andrew Michler's wonderful interview of him in Inhabitat. My favourite section:

Inhabitat: One of my favorite things you talk about is how highrises eighty years ago were more energy efficient than just about anything built today, especially with curtain walls and glass.

Joe Lstiburek: Well, it’s real easy. It’s just glass. I mean we have glass boxes and glass and steel are inefficient. Back in the day we had glazing ratios that were 10 and 15 percent and mass walls. An R2 curtain wall can’t compare to an R8 mass wall assembly. It’s not even close.

Inhabitat: So we talk about these advanced materials, advanced glazing options we have now and, you know, they go on and on and on. They are still nothing compared to a masonry wall as far as energy efficiency?

Joe Lstiburek: They’re nothing to the old approaches, but in the last 50 years the architectural profession has managed to piss away every energy advance that the rest of us have made because of all of the glass. I mean it’s just amazing to me.

And the hypocrisy is stunning. They blame everything. We’re here to save the planet. We’re here because it’s real important for our carbon footprint. And yet they turn out one glass box after another glass box after another glass box and they’re interested in what the emission rate of the paint is, and what the embodied energy of the carpet is, and the biggest problem is their original design. That just drives me crazy. LEED is a colossal joke for that reason. They equate a bike rack with the same efficiency as the enclosure.

Inhabitat: Everybody who wants to point LEED’s weakness uses the bike rack argument.

Joe Lstiburek: Guess what? For good reason. And you know what? They’re idiots to do that and they refuse to limit glazing ratios and they don’t measure shit.

Read the whole thing at Inhabitat

We have talked about these issues before, and Joe is dead on about the glass:
Stop With the Glass Façades Already
Can an All-Glass Office Building Really Be Considered Green?
Why Architects Shouldn't Build Condos out of Glass And People Shouldn't Buy Them
Professor "Sees Red over Green Building"

And he is still dead wrong about the bike racks, there really is more to green building than just the envelope.
In Defence of LEED: Stop Bashing the Bike Racks!

Tags: Green Building | LEED

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