Corbett checks the flue gas temperature, contaminant makeup, and efficiency of the tankless water heater in the #TinyLab with a new Wohler A450. Learn more and order this tool at: https://www.trutechtools.com/WohlerA450
Home performance articles and stories from the field with internationally respected building forensics guru Corbett Lunsford at the Building Performance Workshop. Hear new episodes of the Building Performance Podcast, see new videos from the Home Performance YouTube channel, and learn all about how diagnostic testing (more than an 'Energy Audit') can make home improvement and new home construction a proven process!
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Good day Corbett,
I wanted to let you know, that I really enjoy your approach to the whole building science and your building performance workshop website. I am relatively new as a Resnet Rater and the county where I live is Collier County in Florida.
They recently adopted the new code standard set by the state. My question relates to multifamily condo units. I have a client that did renovations to a 2,500 sq. ft. penthouse condo and the front door to the unit is I a common area. The county wants them to perform a blower door test in order to obtain their certificate of occupancy.
I realize this would be a compartmentalize test, since I can only have access to the unit they renovated for their client. Knowing that I will encounter not only leakage to outside but also internal leakage between units. I was wondering what the best approach would be to ensure a successful test. Collier County requires between 3 ach and 7 ach for a test to pass code.
Any information would be appreciated. Thanking you in advance.
Thanks for your question, it's a good one! First off, you should be fine if they did a good job with the renovations- 7 ACH50 is not terribly hard to achieve.
When you set up your blower door at the front door of the condo, you'll blow air out into the common hallway, so you want to make sure all possible windows/doors in that hallway are open to the outdoors. Use the emergency exits if necessary (make sure maintenance knows what you're up to).
You'll be testing the condo's leakage to everything outside of it, including the downstairs unit, but that's intended. They really will have air leaking between the two condos, if there are leakage pathways, and you want to be testing for that and including it in your blower door test result.
Ask your code official if they want the result to pass the residential code or commercial code, because you have to test at 75 Pa in commercial. I always advise doing a multipoint test (get the flows on at least two pressures, like 25 Pa and 50 Pa) so you can extrapolate the 75 Pa if anyone ever wants it in the future. Saves you a trip.
AS AN ADDED BONUS, consider doing a Zonal Pressure Test on the unit downstairs, to see how much the blower door is affecting it. Always nice to have more data than you need.
Today Corbett talks with Hap Haven of US Green Home about where home performance contractors come from and where we're going (and how not to crash and burn on the way there). Sponsored by the Building Performance Workshop's 6-Week Mastermind Distance Course and Home Performance for Tiny Spaces course.
Diagnostics are the heart of all home performance work- testing will set you free with proof and prediction!
Getting the job done right is a critical part of the job, but what about educating your client on what was done and why it's important? What about reminding them 2 years later? Metrics are the crux of the whole home performance movement, from pre-improvement testing through continuous monitoring.
This week to illustrate 'Rocking the Client' Corbett broadcasts right before his Earth Day celebration keynote at the U.S. EPA's Region 4 headquarters in Atlanta! Danny Orlando, longtime supporter, is now a client- but it took 5 years to get here!
Corbett knows every Mastermind needs Master Plans, but overthinking doesn't do anyone any good. Learn to recognize when you're over-planning and expecting yourself to gain too much knowledge, skill, equipment, or personnel to make Mastery practical!
Infrared expert Corbett Lunsford uses the FLIR T660 infrared thermal camera to illustrate how insulation was installed in the #TinyLab for optimal control over heat bleed. For more info about where you can tour the #TinyLab on its 20-city Proof Is Possible Tour, visit:
A full week of workshops for homeowners, building pros, and real estate pros show the path to worry-free construction
The launch of the Proof Is Possible U.S. Tour is unusual for several reasons, the biggest being that ‘energy efficiency’ is not central to any of the workshops. Instead, what the homeowners, Realtors, mortgage lenders, appraisers, and building pros absorb is the need for quality control, pure and simple. Proof Is Possible for everyone involved: proof that you do better work than the competition, that you got what you paid for, and that a home is worth more.
The tour had a sponsored kickoff event in Tampa way back in 2014, and that got participants hands-on with state of the art tools like testing fans and infrared cameras thanks to TruTech Tools and Retrotec. While the help from exclusive sponsor Dow Building Solutions on that original event was awesome, it made the process of replicating the tour in other cities very slow. Corbett and Grace ultimately decided to streamline the tour, do it all at once in sequence, and spend a whole week at each location, instead of just two days! Find out more about the 2016 tour at http://ProofIsPossible.com.
The Building Performance Workshop team makes ‘Proof’ both educational and entertaining, showing homeowners and homebuyers that they should expect nothing less. Whereas most marketing for home performance is of a ‘macro’ nature intended for huge swaths of people in different areas, the Proof Tour takes a markedly ‘micro’ approach and simply gets everyone who needs to be involved in a local market in one room together.
“I attended the first Proof is Possible in Tampa, and it was the most informative class I have ever been to. Corbett took a very involved subject and in 2 days made me understand things about Home Performance that I hadn’t known in 5 years of testing and 30 years of contracting. It is worth every penny and a lot more to spend this time with the man who wrote the book on the subject while he breaks it down and shows you how it works,” reported Mike Bowman of Dunedin Refrigeration. Adds Cate Hammer of Building Insight, “It’s exciting to have an exuberant and nationally-respected expert like Corbett help us connect the top local contractors with the homeowners and real estate pros who’re looking for what they can deliver- proven results.”
The tour aims to also deepen the real estate community’s understanding of the value of performance. Out of 850 total MLS databases in the U.S., a surprising 185 incorporate ‘green’ features- but few Realtors understand how to use them. The National Association of Realtors found in 2012 that 87% of surveyed homebuyers believe cooling and heating costs are “important” or “very important”. High performance home certifications such as ENERGY STAR and Passive House can add a 10% premium to a home’s selling price, according to several studies surveying millions of home sales throughout the nation. Punta Gorda-based home appraiser Sandra Adomatis adds, “There’s a huge misunderstanding about the cost- a new high performance home will only cost 2-7% more than a code-built home, but then it works for you, instead of you working for it.”
The Proof Is Possible Tour is coming to a city near you, with dinner workshops for anyone who owns or plans to own a home, a breakfast workshop for real estate professionals, mortgage brokers, and appraisers, all free of charge thanks to sponsorship. Additionally there’s a full day of training ($200) for building professionals, who’ll be equipped to turn around and prove they did the job right the first time, and find the mistakes competitors have made. And on Day Two a Duct and Envelope Tightness certification course is be held for a limited number of participants.
For a list of upcoming cities, information and registration visit: http://ProofIsPossible.com
Grace and I have been trying to make a TV show about home performance testing for years- we've tried three times so far! This is how it works traditionally:
- You get a network executive to want to see you as a couple onscreen because they think you're quirky or weird or otherwise compelling in a I-can't-look-away kind of way
- You work with a production company and pay out of your own pocket to shoot a 'sizzle reel' that shows off the personality of the hosts
- You remind yourself and everyone else that your show is about SCIENCE, not about relationship drama and being quirky or weird
- They remind you that no one cares about the topic in reality TV
- You feel frustrated and you throw the whole idea in the garbage because you don't want to play their stupid game
So we've decided to make the show ourselves, without asking anyone's permission. We find that works best for us- whether self-publishing a book (Home Performance Diagnostics) or making a feature film (The Other One), it always seems to work perfectly when we don't have someone breathing down our neck to conform to 'the way things get done around here normally.' Here's the show that will actually make it onto mainstream television: HOME DIAGNOSIS.
In 2014, we pushed hard for a show called PRESCRIPTION HOME PERFORMANCE to get made, but it went exactly nowhere. We went to the national RealScreen Summit, a non-fiction television programming conference (yeah, I know!), met with all kinds of networks to pitch the idea, and finally had Science Channel interested until they finally said, "wait, we don't want to compete with HGTV." And that was that. But you can still see what the show was like here:
And way back in 2009, we worked with our friends and client Sandy Gordon to make OUR GREEN COMPANY, which resulted in all of us being told by the Discovery Green channel that 'green' was a fad. Look at these kids- so young, so fresh, and maybe clueless!
Stay tuned for developments on HOME DIAGNOSIS- at the very least, it'll show on PBS just like This Old House does, and at most, it'll be running 24 hours a day on every channel there is. Probably it'll be somewhere in between!
If you'd like to participate in the making of this show, please reach out to us about it!