Energy Audit-Calculating the Cost of a Home’s Air Leaks

Air leaking into a home (infiltration) or out of a home (exfiltration) happens naturally in every home, new or old.  No matter how much air sealing is performed, we just can’t make them completely air tight.  I’ve tested some new homes that were very tight, .33 ACH50, (anything under 1 ACH50 is very good) and I’ve also tested many older ones that aren’t so tight, we can use my 1952 Cape as an example, 9.71 ACH50.  In this post, I’m going to discuss how to manually calculate the cost of the air leakage and examine what we can do with that number. Continue reading “Energy Audit-Calculating the Cost of a Home’s Air Leaks”

Shorts-Garage Door Air Sealing

I have several blog postings dealing with attached, conditioned garages on the Northern Built website.  It’s been my experience when testing new homes, the attached garages are not separated well enough from the home and often could use improved air sealing when conditioned, especially in my very cold climate.

I recently ran into this garage door seal which I have not seen before.  It has the traditional outer seal that is attached to the side jamb of the door opening, common on all garage doors in my market, but this one has a second seal that is attached to the inner door framing along side the door track.  I had a quick conversation with the installing company which they said the door is ordered two inches wider than the opening to accommodate the inner seal.

There is an additional seal attached to the top of the door to provide further air sealing.

I have yet to determine if this improved garage door seal is available through Clopay, the door manufacturer on this new home build, or if it is an aftermarket product, I will update this posting when I know.  I have a final blower door test to conduct on this home in the near future.  I plan on testing the garage separately to determine if the door seals do work, and how connected this garage is to the main home stay tuned.

Energy Audit-Calculating Electricity Costs

Over the past dozen years of performing energy audit and assessments, I have learned there are three root causes that warrant an audit; there is a problem with the home, a problem with the equipment or appliances in the home, or a problem with the people living in the home.  Often these problems require testing of the homes electrical system and equipment to determine usage and the associated costs. Continue reading “Energy Audit-Calculating Electricity Costs”

Shorts-A New Category

I’m starting a new category of blog posts called “Shorts”.  Topics will vary based on something I’m currently working on or thinking about, but the topic doesn’t require a full blog post, at least not yet.

This first short is a quick design I sketched up recently dealing with what’s hopefully a future project, a high performance post and frame building.  This short post will, with a little luck, become a much larger article showing many details of how to increase the energy efficiency of a “pole barn” or post and frame building.

I’ve had the opportunity to construct several post and frame structures, many had drilled posts sunk several feet in the ground, some were built on a slab.  This design will feature a cast in place bracket attached to a frost protected concrete slab.  The post is used to support a 6 x 6 laminated post installed on eight foot centers which will become the structure of the building.  2x wall girts installed horizontally are then fastened on two foot centers to the 6 x 6 post.  These wall girts become the fastening point for the corrugated steel panels that act as the skin of the structure.  So, how do we air seal on the exterior a building without a solid sheeting?  A really tough, mechanically attached WRB.  Stay tuned!

Building Science-An Interview with Gary Nelson

I think most of us know of this man, one of the founders of The Energy Conservatory and designers of the Minneapolis Blower Door.  I recently had the opportunity to chat with Gary.  My intent with the interview is a little different from other interviews that have featured Mr. Nelson.   I wanted to ask questions from a practitioner working in the field point of view. Continue reading “Building Science-An Interview with Gary Nelson”