Big Building Multi-fan Envelope Testing
The need to achieve high-performance buildings has prompted design changes that incorporate efficient use of energy and resources. One of these changes, the design, installation, and testing of the building air barrier has driven a dramatic increase in the demand for blower door testing of large buildings.
The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires testing of multifamily buildings less than 3 stories. The General Services Administration (GSA) requires testing of new government buildings. Washington State requires that commercial and multifamily residential buildings of greater than five stories have the completed air barrier tested. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has an airtightness requirement and all new buildings and major renovations must be tested for air leakage. The Army Corps has found that when consultants work with the contractors through the design and construction phases they are able to pass the blower door test at levels greater than 50% tighter than the standard. As more consultants learn these techniques, this emerging technology will move more quickly from the public sector to the private sector.
Until recently, most blower door testing was performed on small non-residential and residential structures. However, there is now a demand for consultants with the knowledge and equipment necessary to test large facilities, usually using multiple-fan blower door systems. The primary objective of this manual is to introduce experienced Energy Conservatory blower door users to proven techniques for:
- planning a blower door test,
- preparing a building for the test,
- setting up the equipment,
- performing the test,
- finding air leaks, and,
- writing a report
The manual is designed for Energy Conservatory blower door users that are already at intermediate to advanced level, but is extremely valuable for people considering doing this kind of testing, architects, code officials and product specifiers. It will be helpful for the users to have a working knowledge of big building mechanical systems, be able to read drawings and identify the envelope, and be able to set up the equipment and run the software.
The manual will step you through the process from beginning to end to help give you a clear understanding of what is involved in preparing for and performing the test. We will attempt to introduce you to a few building types and mechanical system types, but the possibilities are endless and cannot all be covered in this manual.
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