Some of you may have been following the attempt to get the Building Performance Simulation and Analysis StackExchange site off the ground. If so you’ll know that sadly it didn’t achieve the critical mass required to get out of Area 51.

But now there’s some much happier news.

Back at the start of September Big Ladder Software opened up their own SE-alike site, Unmet Hours (sponsored by IBPSA) and it’s been picking up steam ever since. As with Stack Exchange sites, questions and answers are voted on so that the best rise to the top. Experts can answer questions that fall into their area of expertise, but also non-experts can find a question that they’re interested in, do some research to put together an answer, and in the process deepen their own understanding of the topic.

The site isn’t tool-specific. At present there is a definite lean towards OpenStudio and others in the EnergyPlus family but there are also questions tagged with IES:VE, Radiance and other tools.

As I said back when talking about the previous attempt to get a Q&A site running, there’s no better model than this to help increase your productivity and speed of learning when picking up a new skill.

The reason I’m posting today is that I’ve just had a landmark experience, which is so common to the big Q&A sites like Stack Overflow. Today is the first time that, while searching for a particular bit of information to answer a question, I’ve been led back to Unmet Hours where the question already had an extensive and well-researched answer.

So many thanks to Big Ladder Software for making the site, and to all of the current and future users, both experts and novices, who will build it a great repository of expertise and information. It’s already well on the right path.

Here’s to many happy and productive hours on Unmet Hours!

Jamie Bull | jamiebull1@gmail.com

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