Tag Archives: energy code

Energy Code and Green Homes: Blower Door Tests

Washington is just one of many states that have adopted the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) that raises the standard for construction design in residential and commercial structures.  This blower door testing ensures that homes are efficiently sealed.

“The new national energy code includes mandatory blower-door testing for building air leakage (less than <3.0 ACH at 50 pascals), which will measure how well contractors have sealed up penetrations between the outdoors and indoor conditioned space. This testing will be required for all projects permitted after the new code goes into effect. Some states have made modifications to the adopted code, such as Illinois which has changed the ACH rate to 5.0 ACH @ 50.  View our archived July 12 webinar to learn more about IL Energy Code changes.”

AMS Inspection performs blower door tests throughout King, Snohomish, Chelan and Douglas Counties.  We’ve worked with developers such as Quadrant Homes and Seattle-Pacific Homes.

Source:  2012 IECC Energy Code vs Green Home Certifications, Jason La Fleur, LEED AP on July 9, 2012

AMS Inspection Services is a home inspection company based out of Leavenworth, WA, with inspectors in Seattle, Wenatchee and throughout Chelan and Douglas counties.  AMS Inspection performs blower door tests for new construction projects.

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Washington State building permits increase: A positive sign.

Now that our Seattle and Wenatchee home inspection company offers HVAC testing (duct blaster) for new construction homes we like to keep an eye on the new construction permits.  The 2009 Energy Code for HVAC Sealing requires a third-party verifier to make sure the HVAC system complies with the minimum performance requirement, therefore, we are hired to conduct the HVAC duct testing.

In the May/June issue of the BIAW’s Building Insight Newsletter the chart below displayed a positive sign of recovery in the building industry since 2010.  Spokane, Pierce, King, Franklin and Benton Counties helped to push the May 2011 building permits over the May 2010 totals.  The overall improvement for 2011 shows a 38% increase in building permits year-to-date in May.  Chelan, Mason, Kittatas, Cowlitz, Island and Jefferson Counties didn’t have much change from May 2010 to May 2011.  Let’s hope the trend keeps improving for Washington’s building and real estate industries.

Leavenworth home inspection

Source: BIAW Building Insight, Residential Building Permits Issued May 2011

Wenatchee Area Builder Association Talks About Code

 A couple of weeks ago we posted information about Washington State’s new HVAC requirement.   We are members of the local North Central Home Builders Association and along with the BIAW they are frustrated with the adoption of this new code and fear that it will cost contractors time and money to meet the new requirements.  Read the summary below written by NCHBA.

“On February 7th, Judge Robert Bryan of the Federal District Court in Tacoma denied BIAW’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Granted the State Building Code Council’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The Judge issued a lengthy opinion, finding that Chapter 9 of Washington’s Energy Code was not preempted by Federal Law, even though it concerns the use of components that exceed federal standards…The Federal law states that credits under state energy codes must be on a one-to-one ratio to energy savings. In other words, a one point credit for installing a high efficiency furnace under Chapter 9 must equal the same amount of energy savings as the one point credit for building a house under 1,500 square feet…BIAW is appealing the ruling.”

Northwest ENERGY STAR’s New Standards

Northwest ENERGY STAR Verifier Update Training started in November 2010 to educated certified Verifiers about the new standards for ENERGY STAR Homes, with a roll-out date of January 1, 2011. In the November/December 2010 “Builder News” Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes said that, “due to the changing energy codes across the Northwest, the January 1 roll-out of the enhanced specifications was necessary to maintain the high level of quality and performance associated with the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes label.”

Our company owner, Aaron Schreiner, attended the update training in Olympia in January.  For more information about the new standards visit the ENERGY STAR Insider News page.  Aaron’s professional achievement was highlighted in the Wenatchee World People & Places article on March 5th.

-Rebecca Darley

WA State Energy Code’s New HVAC Requirement

This week one of our staff went to a WSU Extension Energy Program training in Wenatchee with a focus on duct sealing and testing requirements for the 2009 Washington State Energy Code for HVAC: 503.10.3 Sealing. We have two Energy Star Performance Technicians on staff so this class was more of a refresher course on duct testing but we did benefit from understanding more about the changes to the new HVAC requirements. Basically, the code is in a trial period. Contractors must test the HVAC now but do not have to meet the target rate of allowable leakage during this 120-day testing period. In April 2011 a judicial committee will listen to arguments from all sides and make a decision about the 503.10.3 Sealing WA State Energy Code.

We performed a HVAC leakage test on a home in South Wenatchee. The new construction home performed well. It would have passed the new requirements. It was interesting to note the small leakages that could be easily fixed by mastic. The equipment used for testing the HVAC includes a duct blaster, manometer and blower door which could add up to $5,000. This is a new expense to contractors. There is also discussion about requiring third party testing due to conflict of interest. Should HVAC contractors be able to test their own work?

 Here are a few interesting facts we learned in class this week. Did you know that 40% of a home’s fresh air comes from the crawl space or garage? Thinking about cleaning those spaces right now…aren’t you!? This is also a good time to remind you to open your garage door any time the car is on. A family of four can emit up to 3 gallons of water into a home daily from sweating, showering, cooking, etc. Where do the 12 gallons of water go? Be sure to use your oven and bathroom exhaust fans regularly!