Top 10 Building Science Influencers to Watch in 2020

As the new year gets underway, we thought we’d take a moment to look back at 2019 to see who caught our attention and stood out for their impact on the building community. We have no doubt that these expert builders, educators, architects, and code warriors will continue to do great things into 2020.

Christine Williamson

Christine Williamson has made a name for herself in the building science and construction industries, teaching architects, developers, contractors, and other professionals. Her passion for sharing has even led to the establishment of @buildingsciencefightclub, an Instagram account dedicated to teaching building science and construction.

On it, you can find Christine reviewing drawings and making recommendations that promote appropriate water control, air control, energy efficiency, constructability, and durability, as well as investigating failures related to the design of building enclosure and mechanical systems.

Christine is also chair of ASHRAE Technical Committee 1.12, Moisture Management in Buildings, and is a member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA).

Justin Wilson

Working with builders on new residential and commercial construction and completing forensic investigations on building sites all over North America, Justin Wilson helps find solutions to problems in the building process that affect energy, comfort, and durability.

Thermal enclosure improvements, indoor air quality, occupant comfort, HVAC integration, and home design are his primary interests. He also has a passion for affordable net-zero-energy homes with advanced and durable thermal enclosures.

But it’s Justin’s role in the success of the Construction Instruction mobile app that is one of his proudest achievements. The app allows industry professionals to gain valuable knowledge regarding best-practice building methods and industry innovations.


Matt Risinger

Professional builder Matt Risinger has been in the industry for 20 years and has been blogging about his passions for building science and fine craftsmanship since 2008.

The popular YouTube star is an expert at making complex ideas easier to understand. Each week, more than 500,0000 industry beginners and professionals tune into Build with Matt Risinger on YouTube to learn about craftsmanship and best practices for both building and remodeling.

In addition to his YouTube channel, Matt has written several articles for Fine Homebuilding, the Journal of Light Construction, and Custom Home Magazine. Matt also owns a residential construction company in Austin, Texas.

Jake Bruton

Builder and remodeler Jake Bruton is the owner of Aarow Building in Columbia, Missouri. His firm specializes in energy-efficient, durable, and architecturally driven homes. He strives to use and promote better products and processes to ensure houses are built better and last longer.

With 20 years of carpentry experience and a growing network of followers, Jake can be found on YouTube and Instagram. He’s also proud to be a presenter at EBBA and has written numerous articles for the Journal of Light Construction, Fine Homebuilding, and ProTradeCraft.

Joe Lstiburek

Dr. Joe Lstiburek is the founding principal of Building Science Corporation. His work ranges widely from providing expert witness testimony to overseeing research and development projects. But it’s his commitment to advancing the building industry, particularly in air barriers and vapor barriers, that placed him on our list.

In fact, his work with industry partners on significant research into the wetting and drying of walls has ultimately led to major code changes in the International Residential Code.

As an acclaimed educator, Joe has taught thousands of professionals over the past three decades, published several books and papers, and is a sought-after speaker. It’s no wonder the Wall Street Journal has described him as “the dean of North American building science.”

Martin Holladay

Martin Holladay recently retired from his role as senior editor of Fine Homebuilding and Green Building Advisor. With over 40 years of supporting the green construction industry under his belt, Martin has worked tirelessly to review products, processes, and trends within the energy-efficient residential construction space.

Martin’s Musings of an Energy Nerd column on the Green Building Advisor website is like no other out there. He regularly assesses various home improvement products and advises on how to make homes truly more energy efficient.

Even more impressive is that he built his first passive-solar house in northern Vermont in 1974 and has lived in it ever since.

Nick Schiffer

As founder and owner of NS Builders, Nick Schiffer has an obsession with quality craftsmanship. With his specialty in interior renovations, Nick is starting to make a name for himself through his company, his projects, and his role as contributing author/ambassador for Fine Homebuilding.

From how to install cedar shingles with woven and flared corners to preassembling wainscoting, Nick is a wealth of tips, tricks, and good building practices.


John Straube

Dr. John Straube is the leading expert for building commercial structures in cold climates. In fact, he wrote the book on it. His design guides show how architects and engineers can meet significantly lower operational energy consumption.

Much of his research focuses on energy efficiency, health, durability, and sustainability of buildings, and is backed by testing and full-scale natural exposure performance monitoring.

John is a much-sought-after consultant for major building product manufacturers, government agencies, design professionals, and building owners. He is also a principal at RDH Building Science and a professor of building science in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo.

Allison Bailes

Dr. Allison Bailes is founder of Energy Vanguard, a company that is dedicated to offering professionals and homeowners consulting, training, and quality assurance for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

In his mission to turn houses into high-performance homes, Dr. Bailes regularly updates the Energy Vanguard blog, which is considered one of the best in the industry. For building science, heating and air conditioning, energy efficiency, and home energy audits, it’s the place to go.

Steven Baczek

Steven Baczek is a nationally recognized architect who has designed hundreds of projects across a spectrum of energy performance ratings. Notable projects include passive homes such as the nation’s first certified passive house retrofit under Enerfit, numerous zero-energy homes and retrofits, and many deep energy retrofits.

With over 26 years’ experience, Steven is a regular volunteer and contributor to improving the building industry. He has written many articles and blogs for Fine Homebuilding and the Journal of Light Construction. He is author of over 1,000 details for Green Building Advisor, and you can also find Steven at various speaking engagements sharing his knowledge on architecture, building science, and building performance.