Home Performance Analysis

Measured Home Performance & Assessment

MEASURED HOME PERFORMANCE – Measurable, Repeatable, Verifiable 

The Whole House approach:  Your home is a single, unique energy ecosystem made of several interacting structural and mechanical parts that work in tandem.  Each of these pieces affects the others in either a positive or negative fashion, so weaknesses in one area have a negative impact on the other pieces of the puzzle, as well as on the system as a whole.

In addition to our historic work, Splinters Construction, Inc is a Building Performance Contractor. We utilize the most up-to-date techniques in building performance protocol and construction methods that are truly sustainable because they are designed to last.

We are invested in Measured Building Performance Science, an application of advanced diagnostic testing and equipment that uses the application of the physics of the natural world to precisely measure how your home is currently using energy, and we implement it before work begins, during the construction process, and at the conclusion of the project in order to understand and specifically pinpoint the issues that compromise comfort so we can transform them into solutions that create it.

MEASURED HOME PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

Using scientific testing and techniques developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy, and combining them 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.

The purpose of our Measured Home Performance Assessment (or Home Energy Audit) is to identify the structural and mechanical characteristics of your home and how they are currently interacting with one another, diagnose and measure the severity of their weaknesses, and provide solutions that, if acted upon, will strengthen this fragile ecosystem, improve your comfort and reduce your energy usage at the same time.

Once we have collected this data by performing a “Test-In” assessment, we can provide a complete diagnostic at the beginning of the project and show you the improved results with a “Test-Out” assessment at the conclusion of our work.

Unlike the vast majority of building contractors, our results, including their design and installation quality, are measured and validated by our diagnostic equipment before and after your home upgrade, ensuring you a more energy efficient, healthier and comfortable living environment.

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.” — Lord Kelvin, Scottish Physicist, 1883

At Splinters Construction & Building Performance, Inc., our efficiency work is measurable, repeatable, and verifiable.

What can you expect from a Splinters Home Performance Assessment?

Measurements!

A Splinters Construction Measured Home Performance Assessment consists of the following*:

  • Homeowner interview
  • Utility bill disaggregation
  • Building Air Leakage Test (Blower Door)
  • Combustion Appliance Safety Tests (furnace/water heater/oven)
  • Worst Case Depressurization Testing
  • Testing gas lines for leaks
  • Furnace & air conditioning inspection
  • HVAC air duct inspection & leakage test
  • HVAC Air Flow Rate Check (room-by-room)
  • Exterior, roof, attic & crawl space inspection
  • Attic, wall & crawl space insulation analysis
  • Ventilation & moisture inspection
  • Fireplace Inspection
  • Lighting inspection
  • In-depth photo documentation
  • Infrared imaging documentation
  • Room measurements (square footage & volume)
  • EnergyPro software home modeling for precise energy loss calculations
  • ComfortMaxx diagnostics revealing your HVAC system’s true performance
  • Measured Home Performance Assessment Homeowner Report
  • Prioritized List of Recommended Home Upgrades
  • Energy Upgrade California (EUC) rebate assessment

*Due to special circumstances (such as the presence of asbestos), it may not be allowable (or possible) to perform some of the tests listed above at a particular home.  Please speak to your Splinters Construction & Building Performance, Inc. Advisor for more details.

SPLINTERS CONSTRUCTION & BUILDING PERFORMANCE DIAGNOSTIC TESTS

Building Air Leakage Test 

By measuring the tightness of the Building Envelope with a Blower Door, we measure the uncontrolled air leakage into and out of your home.  This test pressurizes your home to a positive 50 pascals, and gives us a reading in cubic feet per minute (cfm) of the air leakage of the building shell.  With smoke tests and a Thermal Imaging Camera, we are then able to pinpoint the exact locations of the leakage points, which allows us to apply Building Performance Science air sealing techniques in order to strengthen the building envelope.

HVAC air duct Leakage Test 

By measuring the tightness of your forced air system’s ductwork with a DucTester, we pressurize the ducting system in much the same way that we pressurize a house to measure how leaky it is.  Did you know that the ductwork of an average home leaks 40% of the air that should be cooling or heating the 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, uniform temperature in the conditioned spaces of your home.

HVAC Air Flow Rate Check 

With an Air Flow Hood, we measure the amount of airflow in cubic feet per minute (cfm) that is delivered from each supply register, and the airflow of the return as well.  With this vital information we can determine whether you are getting the proper airflow from your equipment, whether you are experiencing more leakage on the return or supply sides of your system, and determine the difference between the designed performance and how your system is actually performing. Finally, we can determine the proper balance of air needed throughout your home based on total air flow and the size and heat gain of each individual room in order to maintain a comfortable, uniform temperature.

Combustion Appliance Safety Tests 

With a Combustion Gas Analyzer, we can test your gas 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 natural gas leaks.

Worst Case Depressurization Testing

When conducting a Combustion Safety Test, we create a Worst Case Scenario in which we depressurize your home using its own exhaust appliances (bath fans, range hood, dryer, forced air unit) in order to determine whether this “worst case” scenario causes one or more of the combustion appliances in your home to backdraft due to the negative pressure created by the air exhausted by these appliances.

Backdrafting means that the combustion gasses (including carbon monoxide) that normally flow safely up the flue, are affected so much by the depressurization caused by appliances in your home that they are drawn back down into the living area and create an unsafe condition. We use a Manometer to measure pressure variations from one space to the next in order to locate potentially catastrophic failures that could lead to illness or worse.

Why would we want to do this?  Because it is imperative for you to know that under no circumstances, regardless of how your home is configured, will an occupant’s safety be compromised.  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.

Wattmeter Appliance Check 

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.