Woo Hoo – 3 days down and 3 to go. Today we actually got to go out in the field and do the measurements for 1 of the 2 field tests we need to accomplish. For a small place (1111 SF), it sure had enough twists and turns to make ones head almost spin, but alas, I am getting ahead of myself. Per normal, we started reviewing last night homework, which took a little longer than normal due to the difficulty of the questions.
While reviewing the homework, we got clarification on the dryer vents and how they should be handled during Blower Door tests. The RESNET software help files state they should be left alone, while the provided Fact Sheet says they should be sealed. Well in this case, the Fact Sheet is based on the older standards and is wrong. The second one was a misconception that some have about fiberglass compression and the applicable R-Values. Some believe that the newer fiberglass’s R-Value is increased by them compressing the batts, while in fact; they have to double the amount of fibers it contains to get the increase. In order for fiberglass to meet its stated R-Value, it cannot be compressed.
Moving on, we started covering Energy Units like BTU, watts, joules, therms, KW’s, etc… This of course started leading into the calculating the return on investment. Now, while this formula is a good basis for many Homeowners to see how it can help them out in the long term, it does overlook a few items – like ones comfort, increased future energy costs (thus improving ones return on investment), and maintenance costs. During this, we talked about one common quick savings area – lighting via CFL’s, LED’s, their lifetime, and choosing the proper one. Mike stated that he has had really good luck with Phillip’s bulbs & gave us three good websites for more information and purchasing them; www.efi.org, www.seagulllighting.com, and www.positive-energy.com.
The rest of the morning was taken up with HVAC systems, their types, efficiencies, and other related information. One good site if you would like to view what your published SEER, HSPF or AFUE rating is based off the model number is – www.ahridirectory.com. The only major notes I have on this, is that 1 ton of cooling will remove approx 12,000 BTU’s of heat & move 400 CF of air a minute.
After lunch, we moved into the ducting, combustion safety and Indoor Air Quality Standards. While there were numerous items discussed, it all gets down to two simple facts that most people tend to forget – First, that the whole house is a system. The second one is that you can never build a house to tight, but you can under ventilate it. For those that believe that a house can be built to tight, let me ask you if you would rather breath pre-treated and filtered air, or air that is overly hot or humid that contains dust, dirt, mold, mildew, rat droppings, fiberglass fibers, or who knows what?
After all this, we reviewed how to perform a duct blaster test and piled into our cars for our first test house. All I can really say about it, is this will be interesting to see what the modeling software comes up with for repairs. Adding insulation should not be an option due to the wiring, the ceiling cannot really handle any more insulation and the HVAC is pretty new with very few leaks. I guess we will find out in the next two days.
As an FYI – today’s pictures are taken of Southface’s building. (Rear of the building below – Classroom area and offices at the top)