Last week I got a chance to sit down and talk with Terry Brennan in Dallas at the ’s annual conference. He may not be as famous as Joe Lstiburek, but he’s every bit the building science pioneer. Armed with a physics degree, the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals, and a desire to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, he built houses and wrote energy modeling computer programs back in the 1970s and ‘80s.
When he finally met Lstiburek in the early ‘80s, he learned not to bet against Joe’s ability to do ridiculous things. Read the transcript of our conversation and find out what that bet was and more.
Allison: How and when did you get into building science? Your background is physics, right?
Terry: Yeah, I trained in physics at Northeastern in Boston back in the late 1960s.
Allison: Undergrad degree? Graduate degrees?
Terry: Undergrad. In 1977, I had gotten real interested in ecology and, of course, there weren’t any real graduate degrees in environmental science so I got a job as an interpretive naturalist at a wildlife sanctuary. I did that for several years and then both University of Michigan and Antioch offered master’s degrees in environmental science, so I went to Antioch and got a master’s degree.
Allison: How did you go from there to buildings?
Terry: Well, because of the oil embargoes in the ’70s, I had gotten real interested in the amount of energy buildings use and the impact of that energy use on the environment. We knew about it back then in the environmental field. So I got interested in buildings via sustainability. I came at it from the impact on ecological systems…
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