Building Science and Airflow In Buildings

Tuesday, April 18, 14:00 – 15:30, 16:00 – 17:15

Buildings are complex three-dimensional airflow networks comprised of multi-layer perforated assemblies driven by dynamic air pressure fields where everything is connected to everything else…or maybe not.  This is clearly a problem….or maybe not.  This clearly can’t be modeled….or maybe not.  This probably shouldn’t be modeled….probably true but maybe not.  This can be controlled….or maybe not.  This wasn’t a problem in the old days…or was it?  Problems didn’t exist until we were able to measure them….or did they?  Why are we measuring what we are measuring and where did all those metrics come from in the first place?  How come we depressurize buildings but pressurize plumbing?  And how do they get the caramel in the Caramilk bar?

Learning Objectives:

  1. To gain an understanding of the complexity of airflow in buildings
  2. To gain an understanding of the basis of current performance metrics
  3. To gain an understanding of the limitations of existing analysis of airflow in buildings
  4. To gain an understanding of what is actually being commissioned when you are commissioning an enclosure

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Dr. Joseph Lstiburek, B.A.Sc., M.Eng., Ph.D., P.Eng., ASHRAE Fellow

Building Science Corporation

Dr. Joseph Lstiburek is a principal of Building Science Corporation. Dr. Lstiburek’s work at BSC ranges widely, from investigating building failures to overseeing research and development projects, to writing articles and books as well as educating industry professionals. A building science pioneer, particularly in the areas of air barriers, vapor barriers, and vented and unvented assemblies, he has had a lasting impact on building codes and practices throughout the world. Dr. Lstiburek founded BSC in 1991, and has been a key figure in establishing it as one of the most influential and respected building science firms in North America.

Dr. Lstiburek has been a licensed Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario since 1982 and is an ASHRAE Fellow. He is an Adjunct Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto and the past chairman of ASTM E241 – Increasing the Durability of Building Assemblies from Moisture Induced Damage. He also worked on the Canada-wide Super Energy Efficient Housing R-2000 program and served as senior engineer on commercial construction projects for Trow in Toronto. Dr. Lstiburek is also a former Director of Research of the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada.

Dr. Lstiburek is one of the world’s foremost authorities on energy efficient construction techniques and heads one of the Building America program teams for the U.S. Department of Energy. Through the program, Dr. Lstiburek has forged partnerships with designers, builders, developers, materials suppliers and equipment manufacturers to build higher performance buildings across the U.S.

Dr. Lstiburek is a noted educator who has taught hundreds of professionals over the past three decades. He has written numerous books and technical papers on building science, indoor air quality and durability, such as the best-selling Builder’s Guides and the U.S. DOE Handbook on Moisture Control. Fittingly, the Wall Street Journal has described him as “the dean of North American building science.”


  • Bachelor of Applied Science, University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario
  • Master of Engineering, University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Building Science, University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario

Professional Registrations

Professional Engineer, Province of Ontario

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Member, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • Building Envelope Committee Member, Boston Society of Architects
  • Ontario Building Envelope Committee (OBEC)
  • Member, Past Technical Committee Chairman, Past Board of Directors, Energy and Environmental Building Association (EEBA)
  • Past Member, American Lung Association Technical Advisory Committee, Health House
  • Past Member, National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS); Building Thermal Envelope Coordinating Committee (BETEC)