I offer a contrast between charged silliness of Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) air sealing, and real sealing, of an Oregon attic. Work complained against, is by the most-respected HPwES contractor in metro Portland, Oregon. The HPwES work was completed Fall 2008, and left the home occupants feeling no improvement of comfort, helpless and had. I claim a friendship with the owner of the HPwES business, and invited him to confront my complaints, as they hatched. Instead, shielded by the power of a large national commitment to HPwES, he simply challenged me: "How long have you been in this business?" Pathetic me? Six years of energetic learning. He? 25 years. Of such work? I think not. Businesses become corrupted by stupid practices, and the decline likely is only in recent years. There is a basis for defense and pride, but it is not likely that work tied to HPwES, has improved since 2008.
Here is an album showing what I found, and how I fixed it.
There is a lot in the link, for an average reader. Let me summarize. The HPwES contractor accepted a job of improving the "performance" of an attic with dangerous and limited access, and badly-placed found insulation, intended R19. Work done was messy slathering of goop on the home's air handler return ducts and header boxes (air source heat pump electric heat already installed), a wrap of unfaced R11 batts on those ducts, and an aimless hour or two of whimsically dispensing a couple of cans of orange spray foam. That orange foam was abhorrent to the home owner, oozing in kitchen cabinets, and in other areas of the living space. I take it, this is the taught practice of HPwES. Nothing more brainy happens in the "holistic" approach to weatherization. The foam touched gaps of about 5% of the home's drywall wall headers on the attic floor, and was all for a very offending "show" elsewhere in unattached piles and gobs. I infer that a door on the air handler closet whistled under blower door influence, and was quieted with spray foam and new gaskets. The "after" blower door test result can only have been with not-allowed closure of that closet door, for result of more than 1100 CFM50, vs required 300 CFM50, minimum for rebate. Quite an achievement! The HPwES contractor might claim even now, that there was no error or wrong-doing. The rebate sponsor, Energy Trust of Oregon, will not respond to other complaint in the job, against ineffective crawl space insulation. I think then that the only way to challenge arrogant HPwES, Energy Trust, and Bonneville Power Administration, is in this kind of public airing.
I have been waiting for HPwES contractors to defend themselves where I have accused them in several places on a public forum: Here, and here. Responses are aw c'mon, or don't spoil the "game" of auditing. This isn't about taking a home owner's money to do an audit. It's about saving energy, and fixing things. We don't need auditors. We need people who fix things, and document their work for homeowner records. Anyone who does things or writes things that do not have honest value, is part of a problem.