“Meet the Building Scientists” with Meghan McDermott and Francis Conlin of High Performance Building Solutions
Meghan McDermott and Francis Conlin, Co-Owners of High Performance Building Solutions, are building science consultants, engineers, educators and expert problem solvers that diagnose performance issues in new and existing multifamily, commercial, governmental, public and institutional buildings. They make buildings behave all across the country.
In this interview filmed in early 2018 in Durham, NC, Meghan and Francis answer questions about how they got started in the industry and what building owners don’t know about their buildings, and also offer career guidance to students and young professionals interested in joining our industry.
Find more information on their company at www.hpb-solutions.com.
Meghan McDermott is an Architectural Engineer, one of the owners and serves as the Business Manager for High Performance Building Solutions. She conducts energy and building enclosure assessments, whole building energy modeling, energy conservation savings calculations and building diagnostics. She is a qualified Level II Thermographer for buildings/roofs and electrical applications and is a contributing author to the US Army Corps of Engineers protocol for air leakage testing. She is certified through the Building Performance Institute, Inc. for Building Analyst and Envelope. Ms. McDermott holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering with a concentration in Energy.
Francis Conlin is one of the owners of High Performance Building Solutions and serves as the technical advisor. His background includes both commercial and residential building consulting and he brings over 25 years of experience in providing building performance services. Mr. Conlin has worked as a consultant to military construction projects, construction and production housing companies, high-rise developers, research organizations, insurance companies, non-profits and law firms. He holds a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and is a licensed engineer in North Carolina and Alabama. Mr. Conlin is an Air Barrier Association of America Quality Assurance Inspector.
Use this Q&A guide to find key parts of the interview that interest you:
What types of buildings do you work in?
Describe your typical work day.
Describe your typical client.
How and why do clients normally contact you?
Describe one of your favorite projects.
- Featuring: “We walked into an institutional building and knew what the problem was in five minutes.”
Describe one of your most difficult projects.
How did you get started in our industry?
Describe your career path to where you are now.
What motivates you to continue working in our industry?
- Featuring: “Well to me it’s fun! Buildings are like puzzles and I like solving puzzles.”
What market barriers do you deal with on a regular basis?
- Featuring: “It’s easy to crash a high performance car, motorbike or building. You have to do it right. Read the directions.”
What market opportunities excite you the most?
What help does your business need in order to grow and prosper?
- Featuring: “Networking in a very informal basis is how we get work and how we communicate about what we do.”
What advice do you have for someone looking to join our industry?
What do you do to learn new skills and keep your current skills sharp?
- Featuring: “Continuing education whether it’s just a webinar or just thirty minutes learning about new technology or new material.”
Name one source that you go to for innovative ideas or new products?
Is it possible to have a 30 – 40 year career in our industry?
- Featuring; “So far, yes. I’ve been working in building science for about 35 years. There were lots of ups and down in my path but it’s all been learning and productive.”
What do building owners and operators not know about their buildings.
- Featuring: “Everything. Where the plans are. When the building was built. Where the operating manuals are.”
What will a high performance building look like in 2024 and 2030?
Drop some industry wisdom on us!