Episode 684: Andre Desjarlais & Michael Lubliner Oak Ridge - National Laboratory & the Building Science Advisor Tool

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Episode 684: Andre Desjarlais & Michael Lubliner Oak Ridge - National Laboratory & the Building Science Advisor Tool

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Show Resources: Show Discussion:

11:59:13 From Victor Cafaro : All of the best of the Holidays to all.
12:00:18 From Victor Cafaro : And away we go
12:05:45 From cliff zlotnik : trivia On what are the names of the scientists who attended the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction inscribed?
12:20:56 From Ed Light : I have a photo of the 3 year-old me at Oak Ridge under the nuclear energy sign accompanying my Dad who was a Navy chemist!
12:45:41 From PRASAD.NATRAJ : Gents, sorry i need to leave, joining from Dubai UAE
12:49:17 From Kishor Khankari : How do you take into account the impact of interior air movement close to the wall?
12:51:32 From Kishor Khankari : I mean internal heat and moisture transfer coefficient will depend on air movement on the surface of the wall.
12:52:15 From Kishor Khankari : Is WUFI part of this analysis?
12:55:21 From Kishor Khankari : Excellent tool. Thanks for sharing.
12:58:41 From Radio Joe : agreed Kishor thanks for joining us
13:06:37 From Remmie Arnold : I was a freshman in Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering at Va Tech when Three Mile Island occurred. Made for an interesting class.
13:09:35 From Victor Cafaro : Happy Holidays & good health in 2023
13:09:55 From Michael Miles : Thanks so much crew - always refrshing to listen and learn from your group and guest. Have a wonderful holiday and safe travels.
13:10:02 From Radio Joe : thanks vic you too. I have a nice package here I need to open up!!
13:10:29 From Radio Joe : Thanks Mike Miles great to see you on. Merry Christmas
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Re: Episode 684: Andre Desjarlais & Michael Lubliner Oak Ridge - National Laboratory & the Building Science Advisor Tool

Post by CliffZ »


Show Number: 684

Andre Desjarlais & Michael Lubliner
Oak Ridge National Laboratory & the Building Science Advisor Tool
Energy efficient & moisture durable; building envelope solutions

Good Day and welcome to IAQ Radio+ episode 684. This week we welcomed Andre Dejarlais and Mike “Luby” Lubliner for a discussion on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Building Science, and the new Building Science Advisor Tool.

Nuggets mined from today’s show:

Mike Lubliner: Change is hard. Mike has learned to embrace change by: learning from his mistakes, learning from his peers and learning from mentors such as: Andre Desjarlais, Joe Lstiburek and John Straub. Mike wants to pass the knowledge on to upcoming Building Scientists.

Andre Desjarlais: ORNL is one of 20 Dept. of Energy research laboratories. ORNL began as a bombs lab, transitioned to an energy efficiency lab in the 1970s and now among other things does research on making building envelopes more durable and efficient. ORNL develops new materials, and makes its unique facilities available for use by business and industry. ORNL is funded by both public and private sources. ORNL is working to reduce your monthly electric bills.

Andre Desjarlais:
ORNL History-
1938-1941- German physicists discovered nuclear fission and were working on weaponizing it. Germany annexed Czechoslovakia which had uranium ore. Albert Einstein (a known pacifist) after urging by other German scientists to wrote President FDR a letter to encourage the US to undertake similar research. The US declined and didn’t undertake nuclear research until Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US entered WWII.
1942- Tennessee Senator Kenneth McKeller a member of the Senate Approriations Committee was asked to hide $1 billion in his budget for the purpose of building super weapons. Senator McKeller asked “where in Tennessee would you like to hide it?”. TN was an ideal location due to TVA hydroelectric power and sparse population in the event of an accident.
1947-1980- Plutonium used in nuclear weapons. The ORNL reactor was copied after WWII to provide nuclear energy. Production of nuclear isotopes for nuclear medicine.
1970s- Oil Embargo ignited interest in building energy efficiency.

Some ORNL stats:
6000 people work at ORNL.
ORNL is home to the world’s fastest computer.
ORNL’s annual budget is $1.5 billion.
ORNL hosts 3000 visiting scientists annually, some for 2 weeks others for multiple years.
ORNL is focused on: computing, materials development & education.

Andre Desjarlais and Mike Lubliner:
Our parents’ homes with plaster walls and single pane windows didn’t have moisture or durability problems. When buildings are tightened-up problems can occur when the tightening isn’t done correctly.
Building Science Adviser online tool (BSA)- Stimulating Positive Change.
Builders are averse to charge. Change involves risks. The safe bet is to continue doing what you’ve been doing. You don’t grown and improve if you only take the safe bet.

Build confidence in using new building materials and more energy efficiency designs. The Building Science Adviser tool combines all of the info from: Building Codes, Field Experience and Computer Simulations. ORNL is working in tandem with the Building American Solution Center in Washington state other DOE labs.

The BSA is a web-based expert system which combines access to consultant and expert brains into an online tool. BSA provides guidance for both new and existing buildings. https://bsa.ornl.gov/#/about

Expert System-User Interface Screen-Inference Engine
Knowledge Base. Dial from Bad to Good.

Mike Lubliner: Building Science Adviser:
DOE Solution Center- Building Science- Assessment of Wall Systems. New and retrofit construction. Inflation Reduction Act will fund grants of $2,500-$5000.
Walls analysis tool.
Build Tight, Ventilate Right. Roofs, Windows, Walls, Building Envelope, Air Barriers, Joe Lstiburek’s Reports,
Opportunity to teach the next generation of building scientist both onsite and in labs.
• Solar Decathlon
• Whole Building Design Guide
• Building Enclosures
• Pre Assessments
• Why do wall retrofitting?
• Durability- “No Free Thermodynamic Lunch”
• Assessments- moisture
• Problem Case Studies
• Vetted information
• Recommends builders spend time of the BSA website with clients. BSA can be a teaching and sales tool.

Website Tour and Demonstration:
• Select climate zone
• Choose type of wall materials
• New wall-Exterior Retrofit or Gut Rehab
• Comparison to Building Codes
• Resources
• Case Studies

Andre Desjarlais:
Any concerns about China or other foreign countries stealing or technology? - Security at ORNL and other government labs has been stepped up. Advance background checks, more security at facility entrances, etc.
It is the hope and desire of BSA that 3rd world countries adopt the technology and build more energy efficiently. Climate and building methods are different in North America than in Europe and Asia.

• Today is the 75th anniversary of the transistor.
• When the ORNL reactor was first started it was estimated that it would take 96 hours to go critical so scientists went home. Back then there no telephones and when the gauges started redlining, a car was sent around to the homes of the scientists to advise them what was going on.

Mike Lubliner:
BSA dials down to credible information and provides positive outcomes. https://bsa.ornl.gov/#/about

Big Building Science List (inspired by Joe Lstiburek)
• Drain the rain
• Save cash and flash
• Overhangs
• Build tight and test
• Ventilate and test
• Know the perm ratings
• Vapor and wind barriers
• Drain bulk moisture from the perimeter
• Don’t do stupid things
• Mike Lubliner’s Building Joe’s Way Song

Restoration Global Watchdog and Moisture Mob Consigliere Pete Consigli
• Many spinning plates during the show and nothing hit the floor.
• Pete’s high school calculus teacher worked on the Manhattan Project. His college thesis was security classified so high no one was allowed to read it, so he was awarded his degree without his thesis being reviewed.
• Building Science Pioneer: Joe Lstiburek’s many important contributions
• See and hear Joe Lstiburek and other Building Science Pioneers at


Z-Man signing off

ON what were the names of the scientists who attended the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction inscribed?
Answer: Chianti wine bottle label.
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Re: Episode 684: Andre Desjarlais & Michael Lubliner Oak Ridge - National Laboratory & the Building Science Advisor Tool

Post by RadioJoe »

Our thanks to Andre and Mike for an informative show. Loved the history of ORNL by Andre. I am a bit of a history nut so that was fantastic. Also enjoyed playing with the Building Science Advisor. I highly recommend going on and putting your own home in to see where you rank on moisture durability and energy. You may be surprised.

Jon Faith and I both modeled our homes (well my son's home) and we learned from that experience. Also found that the BSA does not do log homes. Not enough of them to spend the time pulling that together. Oh well I can tell you they are hard to heat without spending some bucks for btu's!!!
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