Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Further Conversation With Sam

In the previous post, there is only  text and hyperlink  reporting of an email conversation. An attachment shared with Sam on September 4th, was important in expressing an alternative to false and often-fraudulent  leadership by showmen with blower doors.

The first need in fixing attic energy bleeds, is access. Access includes a finished result for the home owner, the following photo specifically that of the attachment shared with Sam. 

More than a year after the attic weatherization, planned knee wall braces were added. The braces are novel in that loads of the roof are borne to exterior walls by strong composite beams. There are no load-bearing interior walls. Several found dried-out 24-foot 2 x 6 joists had split in this warehouse structure, a home now, remnant of Portland's 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition.

Here is the attachment, called "Paid Invoice" and summarizing actions and savings, in a job. 

Planned roof braces were sketched in the attachment. Here are details of the actual braces. For further description, please consult the parent Picasa web album .

The well-finished result is not for storage, but is an artifact of all the work done to seal a very-leaky attic floor. More needs to be done. The home owner has his own ideas of how to ventilate the attic, and will do his experiments. I must return to install knee wall braces and steel peak ties against unzipping of the roof in a wind event. The bath fan duct should be solid steel, much shorter, up through the roof at the new knee wall.

The alternative to all this work and real energy savings, was the bid of a HPwES contractor. He would have crawled under chest bangers of the found attic to just bury all savings opportunities. 

(Includes Foaming all Mechanical and Electrical Penetrations):
Upgrade Attic Insulation to R38: Blow-in Loose Fill Fiberglass and R38 Unfaced
Fiberglass Batts
Fix Bath Fan Connection
Baffles at Eave Vents
FOR THE SUM OF: $555.00
OPTION: Add 2 Lower Soffit Vents for Attic Ventilation - $60.00
Add 2 Roof Vents for Attic Ventilation - $100.00

Pretty darn cheap, but there was little to be saved by just adding insulation. I think this attic was seen as too difficult and dangerous. Just get in and get out. No sealing. No blower door test-in and test-out. Forget the HPwES baloney.

The alternative to HPwES, then, is the hard work of access: 
Please study this 120 page photo album. There is disclosure of clever methods, and opportunity for anyone to comment, perhaps sharing yet-better methods. Blower door actors have nothing like this to share, justifying their mode of leadership. Their "marketing" to snag customers, is shrouded in encouraged secrecy.

The worker who will create access for his own good diligence, and that of others, should lead the weatherization quest. And let that leadership not be as a General. With initial access, send in a licensed electrician. There nearly always are hazards that, like energy bleeds, must not be buried. Each trade should have full responsibility, in independent relationships with the home owner. Good tradesmen do not want to be subs. Substandard tradesmen find cover behind a General, who may seek them out to cut cost.

Get rid of the BPI General, and a BPI tax upon investments to save energy. Fierce marketing for BPI now includes home builders. This in the  October 2012 issue of HBA News in Portland, Oregon:

If you aren’t a BPI certified Home Performance with Energy Star contractor or an Energy Trust of Oregon trade Ally then your upsell will include bringing in one of these certified professionals - - - 

We have had enough of the greed of BPI in trying to promote HPwES through advantage promised to the players. Aggregating rebates to HPwES Generals was one of the schemes that killed Home Star weatherization funding in 2010.

I was waiting, as the foregoing was posted, to find out whether my NW Portland customer will receive a requested sealing rebate. The rebates sponsor admits test-in with a blower door is needless, but has honor invested in advocating HPwES. It is hard to admit when you have done people wrong. More to the point, blower door test-in, admitted as not needed, also admits that a blower door is not a diagnostic tool; it is only a marketing novelty.

Of course, the sealing rebate is denied. Energy Trust of Oregon is loathe to lead in the ruin of HPwES. 

My message of October 19, 2012:

Hello Tom,

I was so ready to read refusal in this:

We are unable to accept incentive applications for air sealing unless they are supported by a blower door test performed by a certified technician. You may subcontract the tests to another trade ally, or obtain the training and certification yourself. Given the consistently high quality of your work, I suggest the latter. You will be able to offer incentives, provide input to shape our programs and participate in pilots to help the industry move in new directions.

that I did not see your simple offer of rebate with a blower door test-out. 

This is as I offered in the Paid Invoice:
The indulgence of Energy Trust is asked in a test-out blower door report, if needed for the air sealing rebate. Society, not the customer, should pay for any contribution to publicly-disclosed blower door lore. 

Neither a test in or a test out has any value except as the public lore. Very little of my valuable sealing would affect a blower door, and it would have been nice to show that, not a number as discredited measure of energy savings.

Please suggest a public resource for the test. Can CSG do this for me?

Phil Norman

Response received  October 19, 2012:

Hello, Phil:

I am sorry if I caused any misunderstanding in the last email. There is no public resource for a blower door test, and we are unable to pay an air sealing incentive without a pre and post-test to demonstrate actual reductions in air leakage.

As soon as I know about an exception for insulation, I’ll follow up with you.

This is NOT acceptable adherence to rules. Rules may not be enforced, where they act against the public interest. A change in blower door readings is not a measure of closing attic floor pits, so abundant in this attic, needful of repair, and never offered as repair by the irresponsible HPwES competitor.

I estimate $770 per year savings due to new weatherization. Only $110 of this is from added insulation. 86% of savings are from diligence that was not offered by the HPwES contractor. My full sealing of the attic floor would have negligible impact on a blower door test. This job is an excellent but not unusual display of the uselessness of HPwES.

Shame, shame on Energy Trust of Oregon, for preference of harm to this customer, in defense of rotten programs.

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