Using scientific techniques developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy combined with the latest Building Diagnostics equipment from world leading companies like FLIR and Retrotec, Our team of Building Performance Institute Certified Analysts are ready to bring your house up to the most current standards of comfort and efficiency.
What is Building Performance Science?
Simply speaking, Building Performance Science is the application of the physics of the natural world to measured performance values, individual to each home, and using the results to pinpoint structural and/or mechanical deficiencies that create less efficiency and an uncomfortable living space.
How do we do it?
By measuring the tightness of the Building Envelope with a Blower Door, we measure the uncontrolled air leakage from your home. This test either pressurizes or depressurizes your home to a pressure of 50 pascals, and gives us a reading in cubic feet per minute of the air infiltration (or exfiltration) of your building shell. With smoke tests and a Thermal Imaging Camera, we are able to find the exact locations of the home’s leakage.
By measuring the tightness of the forced air system’s duct work with a Duct Blaster, we pressurize the ducting system in much the same way that we pressurize a house. Did you know that an average home’s ductwork leaks 40% of the air that should be cooling or heating its living space? Many people have oversized HVAC systems that try to compensate with extra tonnage for this leakage in the ductwork (and also in the envelope), creating a system that uses much more energy than necessary, cycles on and off needlessly, is noisy, and fails to create a comfortable temperature in all areas of the conditioned space.
With an Air Flow Hood, we measure the amount of airflow, in CFM, that is delivered from each supply register, and the airflow of the return as well. By calculating the room’s size, we can use this information to adjust the airflow in each room (if the duct system has been properly installed and sealed in the first place), so that the home is conditioned evenly.
With a Combustion Gas Analyzer, we can test your combustion appliances (furnace, water heater, stove, etc.) for excessive carbon monoxide production. Carbon monoxide is a major cause of poisoning and accidental deaths in the United States… approximately 200 people die and over 40,000 are treated for poisoning each year. We also check every gas pipe connection and fitting for leaks, as well.
When conducting a Combustion Safety Test, we use a Manometer, to measure pressure variations from one space to the next. By using this device, we are able to set up a Worst Case Scenario in which we try to depressurize the home using its own exhaust appliances (bath fans, range hood, dryer, forced air unit) in order to force the combustion appliances to backdraft. Backdrafting means that the combustion gasses (including carbon monoxide) that normally flow safely up the flue, are affected so much by depressurization that they are drawn back down into the living area and create an unsafe condition.
Why would we want to do this? Because it is imperative to know that in no case, regardless of how your home is configured, will the occupant’s safety be in peril. We always “test-in” a home before the work begins, and “test-out” at the end in order to ensure that any alterations that we have made do not affect your safety.
With a Wattmeter, we can check the energy draw from appliances, computers, flat-screens, and so forth in order to give you a comprehensive report on your baseline energy usage. In addition to all this advanced equipment, we have the experience and training to give your house a visual inspection that can point out areas of possible water intrusion, landscape watering issues, grading, window condition, roof condition, and a multitude of other problems that may affect your health or the well-being of your structure.