Airtightness and the Truth of the Red Door: Construction Tech Tuesday

Lindsey Elton, founder of Eco Achievers, and Emily Rhea, project manager and rater for Eco Achievers, led the Construction Tech Tuesday crowd through a detailed discussion of strategies needed and obstacles encountered in testing the airtightness of commercial buildings. Eco Achievers is a Midwest-based firm that guides project teams through the processes needed to meet a broad array of certifications from ENERGY STAR to PHIUS and many in between.

Rhea and Elton presented mostly on the airtightness testing challenges of complicated structures, such as a new addition between two existing school buildings. However, the scope of their work just as PHIUS verifiers requires so much more than blower door testing, including checking building materials for compatibility with EPA’s Indoor Air Plus requirements and overseeing the testing and balancing of the HVAC system. When asked during the discussion about the optimal time to get Eco Achievers involved in a project, the response was definitely by the schematic design stage and sooner is even better. That’s because early intervention will help the project team come up with a plan that leads to certification success.

What are Eco Achiever’s strategies for success? Among the best practices they discussed were building mockups, mid-construction testing, fostering clear communication with all team members that work on a project, and having a dedicated air boss or air sealing specialist (ASS), as some prefer. These highly qualified women with expertise in nearly every high-performance building certification had much more wisdom to impart, so be sure to watch the video to get acquainted with all of their techniques and technical details.

Author
Mary James

Mary James

Mary James is Director of Publications at Passive House Accelerator. Her books include New York Passive House 2015; Net Zero Energy Building...

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