Thursday, October 4, 2012

Admission Of Snake Oil

I try hard to bring the primary weatherization sponsor for Oregon, into my camp of Home Performance dissidence.

In a hopeful rebuttal of my views, I was alerted to this news article, on August 31st:
(Daily Blog for Portland, Oregon, of the Northwest's Daily Journal of Commerce, August 27, 2012) 

The taunt said, "Break out your blower door, Phil."

On September 1st, I sent this message to the author of the article:

Hello Sam,

Will you please offer one example of attic weatherization (the most-important, to be done first and best), that required "science," in discovery by a blower door?

I offer many examples of jobs done correctly, where repairs could not be discovered by a blower door.

On September 4th, Sam said:

I didn't title that editorial, the DJC did.  I invite you read more closely, again.  I certainly didn't imply we should "stop offering incentives for the smaller jobs."  if you can provide an interpretation of my piece that does I will ask the DLC for a retraction!

I am merely advocating for an increase in the incentives and the types of work that support for our entire industry.  Most importantly I suggest we should incentivize larger, deep energy retrofits that use  building physics and energy modeling, using criteria provided not only by 
payback times but also by factors such as comfort and indoor air quality.

As for the one example, I guess I just say that blower doors measure the air leakage of a structure at a given pressure difference between inside and out side.  A blower door is a tool, not the science.  I hope I didn't say  that blower doors are the be-all-end-all of our trade or building science.  That being said, I know that we use blower doors, along with arduous physical inspections (down and dirty indeed), all the time to help us air seal buildings.  Are we doing something wrong?

On September 4th, I said:

Here is the challenge again, in the last paragraph of a blog post:

If you do not have direct knowledge of an example, please ask others. I respect Hammer & Hand, from HBA exposure through the Urban Timberworks meeting. Repairs achieved, the diligence, should be noted in every job. I attach a recent example Diligence Report, with brief summary of repairs fully documented in photo albums. If lacking reports and associated billing, do you really believe diligence is achieved?

On September 27th, I said:
Hello Sam,

I now take your lack of response, as admission no one at Hammer & Hand can name an instance where a blower door was of service in any significant air sealing. Perhaps a window or door seal whistled in the odd inflow and was fixed, for negligible savings.

Am I wrong?

On September 27th, Sam said:


Honestly, we are so far apart on this that I don't know what to say. I am at a loss. 

On September 27th, I said:

Hello Sam,


Will you please offer one example of attic weatherization (the most-important, to be done first and best), that required "science," in discovery by a blower door? 

Aside from my option to post this, I must suffer an end to the conversation.

Will my tiny public please judge: Who is right here?

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