Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
IBACOS co-founder Brad Oberg dies at 64
IBACOS co-founder and chief technical officer was one of the industry' foremost building scientists and innovators
Brad Oberg, co-founder and CTO of IBACOS and one of the foremost building scientists in the world, died of heart disease Monday, March 10th. He was 64.
Brad spent more than 30 years helping production homebuilders, manufacturers and governments make homes more safe, healthy, comfortable, durable, efficient, responsible, and affordable. His approach was both aspirational and pragmatic. While he pushed the envelope with home performance and housing technology, he never lost sight of constructability — on behalf of the trades — and cost to the builder and homebuyer.
In 1991, Brad co-founded IBACOS, a Pittsburgh-based housing innovation company, with Michael Dickens, the company’s CMO. The following year, both were among a core group of industry experts who partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy to create Building America, a program that has
been a source of innovations in residential building performance, as well as millions of dollars of energy savings, for more than 15 years.
As IBACOS’ Chief Technology Officer, Brad provided technical oversight for much of the company’s systems-based research, product development, and building performance work for private clients. His areas of expertise and influence on home quality and performance were vast. One area in which he led the industry was his application of systems thinking to housing, an approach that has since become standard. Over the course of his career, he investigated structural and thermal systems, airtightness, ventilation strategies, duct work design and performance, advanced lighting, and whole house system approaches, and helped production builders resolve issues with stucco, concrete, water intrusion, moisture and comfort in all climates of the U.S.
Brad began his career in the 1980s at Owens Corning’s Research Lab, where he developed the first design guide for builders to generate a guaranteed energy savings. He then went on to lead the New Products Laboratory at USG before setting his own course at IBACOS.
Brad was a sought-after speaker and held several patents for homebuilding products. He earned a Master’s of Architecture from the Ohio State University, and was an active member in the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Environmental Committee of the International Code Council.
“I've often heard people describe him as a Renaissance man — a unique blend of art and science. He was highly intelligent, very creative,” Dickens said.
When he wasn’t building better homes, Brad was putting his technical wizardry to use in lighting and set design for the theatre — his other great passion. For over 20 years, Brad helped Pittsburgh-area high schools and community theatre groups bring their stories to life. He mentored numerous students intechnical theatre, lighting, and stage management — many of whom he worked with from grade school to adulthood.
Along with thousands of lives that he touched in the industry and his community, Brad is survived by his family — a wife of 43 years, their two daughters, a son, a sister, and his stepmother.
“He was a brave and passionate man who loved homebuilding,” said Michael Tilley, IBACOS CEO. “He did not suffer fools gladly, but he was very generous and kind of heart, especially to those he knew needed help.”
More information is available on Brad Oberg’s memorial website, http://memorialwebsites.legacy.com/bradoberg/homepage.aspx.