Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Playing The Game: For Shame

All who participate in "performance-based" weatherization, the game in question, tell a lie. The lie is that the prep work for upgrade of residential insulation must be guided "scientifically," with a blower door

The participant player sets this nylon garment into your front door, with a clever aluminum framework that seals it all around. A strong fan blows to the outdoors, pulling air in everywhere else. A "minus 50 pascal" pressure differential is established by winding up the fan, and the calibrated flow rate of the fan is recorded. It's as if a twenty MPH wind is driving against your home from all directions, simultaneously, they say.

Under these conditions, some interesting things happen. Mildly interesting in that few discoveries are actionable. Irksome conditions in that windows and outside doors are shut. Stupid fireplace damper closed, don't forget it. All interior doors are open and subject to some room-to-room differentials. Cool breezes around old doors. Unrealistic inflow at unloaded window gaskets. A failed backdraft stop on a fan might be detected. Stop it, says the home occupant. And the crew goes to work for a couple of hours of "fixing" your home. I'm concerned about what happens in the attic. Can't fix a fan, so forget that.

Untrained people go around with cans of insulating foam, looking for things to squirt. The least-professional will toss the couple of expended cans, still with some flammable propellant, wherever. A pro who has invested a few dollars will dispense via a "gun," not deigning ever to do the messy and stinky change of a cartridge on a job. Perhaps he has invested in  two guns. What he can't see, he doesn't need to know. Two cans expended. Good job done?

No way!

I believe this is a known, taught, scam, that teaches home owners to not trust weatherization contractors, and to question all recommendations from program sponsors.

Here is my first public complaint against the fraud, where the contractor is named. My knowledge is from the rare privilege of being allowed to see another contractor's work. Such work is a secret between the contractor and a rebates organization such as Energy Trust/ Conservation Services Group, in Oregon. My complaint was sniffed-at, by these groups. The contractor was soon elevated to Energy Trust's highest "Three Star" honors. 

All who help deliver Home Performance With Energy Star, "qualified" through crummy  training blessed and taxed by Building Performance Institute, BPI, or through Bonneville Power Administration's Performance Tested Comfort Systems (PTCS), are coddled and rewardedThe advantage given to a playing "three star" contractor can be payout to the contractor of Public Purpose funds, in excess of $10,000 per year. A contractor not playing the game, for whatever its stupid goal, never gets a penny of public money. None ever should. We work for the public, who get to do right and hire smart, if they are not misled. Contractors should be recommended only for their honesty and diligence, demonstrated in years of complaint-free service.

Hiring smart can yield a better result, like this.

To be continued.

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