Friday, October 28, 2011

Southface

The Georgia State Consortium of Air Conditioning Instructors met on October 25 at Southface in Atlanta. Southface is a non-profit agency devoted to energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings and communities. In keeping with their ideals for sustainability, Southface does not allow bottled water, box lunches, or  syrofoam cups in their facilities. I must admit, I was a little put out with all the rules. “Who do these people think they are?” But then I realized, they are actually practicing what they preach. They know who they are. A sponsor, Technical Training Aids, graciously provided our lunch wthin the confines of all the rules and it was great. We gathered there to hear about what Southface could offer and tour their facilities. They provided an overview of the new residential energy efficiency code and its application in Georgia. All new residential construction in Georgia is required to pass a blower door test and all new duct systems must pass a duct blaster test for tightness. Those two requirements are the big ones for HVACR contractors. Further, the people performing the test must be state certified to perform it. They get certified by taking a relatively short course that lasts less than a week and then passing a performance test. So at least in Georgia, installing tight duct systems is no longer an “add on” for the better homes, but a requirement. Although there will certainly be many contractors that will regard all this as a pain, at least one in Athens sees it as an opportunity. Anytime he sells a high efficiency changeout, he quotes a duct seal and wrap upgrade. A seal and wrap consists of removing the old duct insulation, sealing the duct, re-installing the old insulation, and insulating over the old insulation. The duct blaster is used to measure the duct leakage before and after the job to document the improvement. So even if you don’t work in Georgia, you might consider promoting duct sealing and insulation. If your competitors don’t do it, that is a way to differentiate yourself from them. Most homeowners can easily understand that leaky ducts cost them money. For many systems, sealing and insulating the ducts will improve system efficiency even more than installing a new high SEER system.

2 comments:

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  2. Where would you go to become state certified in the blower door test? That test is supposed to make sure there aren't any leaks into the home right? I sure wouldn't mind having a test done if it saved me money in the end. Those electricity bills from the heater can start costing a lot.

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