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Thermally Pleasant Summer Reading

Many of us find a bit of time in the summer to pick up an extra book or two to read. My wife often smiles wryly at my choices, which are not necessarily on the NYTimes Bestseller List, but rather tend toward some nonfiction piece on biology or physics.  Here are a few items I recommend adding to your summer reading list.

Summer World: A Season of Bounty

I previously put in a plug for Summer World: A Season of Bounty ( by Bernd Heinrich) and will do so again here. This book  is timely (summer is here!) and it is also now on the remainder list ($6 hard cover). Additionally, Dr. Heinrich is  simply one of the best science writers going and the entire book relates in one way or another to the thermal world of nature.

ASHRAE Journal and Builder’s Guide Series

Many building thermographers have undoubtedbly heard of Joe Lstiburek. Joe is notoriously sacrilegious and revels in pulling people into controversial discussions during his lectures. Watch this video for one example of Joe in a lighter mood and there are many other YouTube clips of him when he’s not drinking red wine. Most tolerate Joe’s rants because he is clearly “spot on,” and some of us actually enjoy them because the guy is clearly the brightest building scientist in the world. Really, this guy is revolutionizing our understanding of building science. Joe and his partners at Building Science Corporation are especially widely sought after to solve moisture issues in large buildings and in helping with safe, efficient designs for production housing.

Joe Lstiburek’s “builder’s guide” series, this one on Northern climates, are an excellent summer read!


The good news is Joe is also widely published. While some of his better work, a regular column in ASHRAE Journal, for example requires a bit of work (or a subscription) to access. However, much of it is online at the Building Science Corporation’s website and available either at no cost or for a very reasonable fee. His “builder’s guide” series, customized to various climactic regions, is still some of the most succinct expert writing I’ve ever seen. I promise you’ll turn some heads reading one of Joe’s books while lounging at the beach this summer!

Top Ten Dumbest Things

While his most notable work has been done on moisture mechanics in buildings, he’s not been shy about taking on many other issues related to building science. Given his qualifications (Ph.D., P.Eng., ASHRAE Fellow and curmudgeon) and his extensive field experience, it is no wonder he has turned the heads of many in the industry. Honestly, he has  probably also lopped a few of those same heads off in the process! A sample of what Joe says are his “Top Ten Dumbest Things” lists. Among them, for Southern climates, he lists such topics as “buildings that suck,” and “vinyl wallpaper.”





Joe and others at Building Science Corporation specialize in solving moisture issues that are endemic to large buildings, especially hotels. This image shows poor distribution of cooled air, potentially a situation that will be accompanied by moisture and, worst case, growth of mold and mildew.

Building Science Press: Live Session

If you really want to jump in deep, consider going to a live session). Be ready to laugh, react, wonder what the heck is going on, feel stupid and just about every other emotion possible. In the end, however, I bet you’ll be amazed at what you learned and at the new ways you see the world of building science.

Thinking Thermally,
John Snell—The Snell Group, a
Fluke Thermal Imaging Blog content partner

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