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”
Not every new home built has the budget to be high performance. That doesn’t mean some energy efficiency measures and decisions based on sound building science can’t be added to a design to build a better house. Continue reading “Construction Design-Building Code Minimum”
I’m working on an article discussing the #codeminimumhouse from a year ago and it’s got me thinking about what I would suggest as upgrades that won’t break a budget for a new build. Basically a check list for building slightly above code. Continue reading “Short-Code Minimum”
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!
An energy audit is an inspection and analysis of how a building uses energy. To get an accurate analysis, tools are needed to perform testing. You would think that a blower door and thermal imaging camera would be my most commonly used tools during an audit, I do use them often, but there are a couple I used more. This posting is all about my energy auditing toolbox. Continue reading “Energy Audit-Tools of the Trade”
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”
Whether you are using equipment from Minneapolis Blower Door, Retrotec, or any other blower door manufacturer, one of the first steps in conducting a blower door test is to measure the home’s floor area, volume, and surface area. Coming up with the floor area is the simplest, length times width. Calculating volume also isn’t hard, width times length time height, simple right? Not always, getting the volume of a geodome or a complex cathedral ceiling often takes some time. Continue reading “Energy Audit-Measuring for Blower Door Testing”
If you’re a nerd like me, chances are you’ve heard of WUFI. WUFI is a German acronym that basically translates to heat and moisture movements through a building assembly. This is called hygrothermal analysis, it predicts wetting and drying of an assembly and lets us know if that assembly is risky. Continue reading “Building Science-WUFI”
Balanced mechanical ventilation is code required in all new construction in my home state of Minnesota. Indoor air quality has become a big topic with today’s pandemic. My market uses HRV’s or heat recovery ventilators almost exclusively. They work great at supplying the home with filtered fresh air and at controlling indoor humidity levels. You can read more about HRV’s here. Continue reading “Construction Design-HRV or ERV”
A blower door is an expensive tool. A full kit including frame, panel, fan and manometer will cost more than $3500. Add in the other tools for finding air leaks and you could easily drop over $5000. And then you still need to have some training to understand how to operate and interpret the results. Continue reading “Energy Audit-Homemade Blower Door”