New Blower Door

12/23/2015 10:05

We recently purchased a Minneapolis blower door to use in energy audits. A blower door is used to test a home for air leakage.  It is the only way to effectively find and fix air leakage in houses. We use the blower door, an Infrared camera, and smoke machines as our primary tools.

Now we have tools that measure air leakage, locate the source of the leakage and even visualy identify the leakage path.  We can detirmine the overall amount of leakage, proportion the leakage between various zones in the house such as attic ceiling, walls, basements, garages.  Once we have identified a problem area or leaky zone, then we use the IR camera to locate specific leaks.

Air leakage is often 25 to 35% of total heat loss in a building, but it can be very difficult to trace.  Air is slippery and invisible.  If you plug one leak, air will often find another route into your home. We often find air pathways between basements and attics.

Finding and sealing air leakage is usually the first step in making a home more comfortable. It is never possible to completely seal up an existing house, so we prioritize the big leaks. We use a variety of methods and materials to seal leaks, depending on their location and size.  It is especially important that any leaks between the home and the attic be sealed before attic insulation is added.

Chinese style Solar Greenhouse

 Imagine, as a market gardener, growing fresh, organic food all year in Montana without any fossil fuels. Tomatoes into November and December, new greens starting in February. These off season crops offer higher profit margins because the alternative for consumers is the tired produce in the grocery stores.

The Chinese started developing solar greenhouses in the 1970's and now have over 3 million acres of them.  Their mature design grows vegetables year-round and is energy self sufficient up to the 42nd parallel.

We are currently working with a Montana market gardener to build a commercial solar greenhouse next year. Our goals are to use the Chinese model and proportions but adapt to our local materials and building practices.  We know that the building will have to perform well, but also be inexpensive enough to make the economics work.

Please call or write if you have interest in a similar project.



Jim Baerg Montana Energy+Design
223 S. 5th St.
Livingston, MT 59047