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Inspection Blog

Chairman of the Sustainability Exam Development Committee

I was appointment to the newly created ICC Sustainability Exam Development Committee [EDC] which is the former Energy EDC and the Green EDC combined.

Video: Indoor Air Quality is a Threat to Public Health.

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Did you know that the EPA ranks indoor air quality among the top 5 threats to public health in North America? It's true: poor indoor air quality may lead to asthma, allergies, or even death.

One sure-fire way to reduce the risk of unsafe indoor air quality is to have a home performance upgrade. Contact us to learn more!

Indoor Air Quality from Billy Hunt on Vimeo.

Are Ceiling Fans a Good for Energy Efficiency?

Ceiling fans would seem, at first glance, to be a smart tool in the overall mix of your home's energy efficency equipment. But too few know that their real value is when they're blowing on people--and many experts say they're essentially worthless and counterproductive if people aren't present in the home. 

Carl Seville, a Green Building Consultant and expert from Atlanta, wrote a provocatively named post recently: Ceiling Fans are Evil on the Green Building Advisor blog.

Here's a direct quote: "I am not suggesting that we should not use ceiling fans — just that they shouldn’t be on if no one is in the room. If people only use them when necessary and set their thermostat a bit higher, then the extra heat is a small price to pay for the comfort and energy savings."

Video: Superinsulation Doesn't Work if the Windows Leak

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In this installment of Green Building Advisor's "Job Site Visits" series, building science guru Joe Lstiburek explains why insulating a house to the highest standards won't do much good if the home still has significant air leakage. I am always amazed at builders who will upsell to an 18 SEER AC system but then struggle to pass the air barrier blower door testing even down here in climate zone 2 where we only need to get under 5ACH@50PA. I have had exceptional home pass before I find a window open a few inches. Have a home test out at 7ACH is not uncommon until I get to walk the home with the builder at the rough. Framers are the most common culprits, with wallboard installers a close second. I have found that a few extra trips to the home at these phases pay off, but only if the builder leans on the subs to make changes in their practice.

Air Sealing Where it Counts

The graph below shows which structural air-leaks that create problems when performing the blower door testing. Knowing where to go first allows you to maximize efforts toward reinforcing your home's building envelope tightness.

2015 Standard Bearers Awards

STATE OF ILLINOIS; WASHINGTON, D.C.; AND STEVEN E. RINEHART WIN BUILDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY AWARD FROM IMT AND ICC

Texas Energy Code Ambassador

The Energy Code Ambassadors Program (ECAP) is a program SPEER has initiated, in collaboration with the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), Building Officials Association of Texas (BOAT), the International Code Council (ICC) and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP).  This program incorporates direct interaction with trained and experienced code  and building professionals who understand the challenges and constraints that are often faced with energy code compliance..  Ambassadors are geographically situated to provide guidance and peer-to-peer support for the building and enforcement community.  SPEER supports these professionals with additional resources and communication.

ICC Energy Exam Development Committee [EDC] Appointment

Appointment to the ICC Energy Exam Development Committee [EDC] as a full member effective January 1, 2014 for a term of three years. Examination Development Committees shall be appointed by Board of International Professional Standards to advise the Board on all technical elements related to development, maintenance and administration of ICC Certification Examinations; and shall serve as an initial Appeals Board on candidate challenges to the ICC Certification Program.

Building Codes to Tighten Across Texas

Building Codes to Tighten Across Texas by Kate Galbraith

The international symbol for Texas’ energy-guzzling habit is a monster pickup truck — pulling another pickup truck. But homes and other buildings are also big offenders, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the state’s overall energy use.  The opportunity for savings — and to draw down some energy-related federal stimulus dollars — has spurred action by state and local officials. In January, Texas will adopt a statewide building code that should cut the energy consumption of new single-family homes by more than 15 percent, according to the Energy Systems Laboratory at the Texas A&M University System.

Video: What is a Home Energy Assessment?

Good synopsis of what to expect during a home energy assessment.