Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Portal Rules Considered By Energy Trust

I invested today in a meeting with rule experts at Energy Trust of Oregon. With promise of pending rules revision, I am told to go ahead and make/ sell >R5 portals. I will take this to mean use of maximum insulation within a structure thickness of about 2", where there is available hinge and latch hardware. I will aim for R7, with 1 1/2" EPS foam panels, 1/8" MDF facings, about 1 7/8" thickness, and a minimum of wood spacers and supports. Where I employ found manufactured attic ladders with a common 1" insulated door thickness, the claimed R5 will be sufficient. 

Rules are not revised for makeshift weatherization. A crummy uninsulated ladder will have to be covered with an R10 tarp, hoping for floor sealing. There will be no interest in disparaging the "American" products.  If a found kneewall closet door is weatherized, it must be gasketed, and somehow dressed with about 3 1/2" EPS foam, or fiberglass batting, to R15, but I can install my door that is ample R7. I can offer a sleek R7 two-inch thickness factory-built ceiling portal cover, but a coper with found wood or drywall covers, will need to stick on R30 insulation, somehow. If the builder of Oregon State Park cabins is called to fix floor hatches, he will be obliged to get that 4" block of urethane foam to stay on this time, somehow, and this time somehow intimate with the wood. 

An aspect of this decision is doing nothing to restrict sale of junky products at lowest-possible price, the American way. Reformed quality requirements for outside doors will not apply to attic ladders. Builders may continue to throw up a piece of drywall in a ceiling-access hole, leaving a problem to be coped-with by an insulation installer, who MUST invent something. In a parallel non-correction, a handyman may continue to pocket another dollar, installing a non-IC can light, sold with no restrictions, no store-shelf warnings. I must twist the customer's arm to replace that can light at the full dollar-more cost, when I insulate that attic and refuse to use the insulation barrier suggested by Energy Trust as a preferred method.

I should be happy that I can shame the coper competition, which does not show up, at the Better Living Show. Somehow, I am not. I dearly wanted a simple R5 rule for all home service penetrations, with no special mention of attic, closet and crawl space doors.

I will take non-contradiction of this post as my rule authority.

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