Georgia Rocks! - New Energy Code Requires Blower Door Test
Starting on the 1st of January 2011, all new homes permitted in Georgia must have a Blower Door test! You heard, right? I've written about this twice before - last April, when the new Georgia state energy code was finalized and then again in July when the new energy code passed at the Department of Commuity Affairs.
Georgia is the first and only state to go this far with implementing 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC allows demonstrating compliance by either a Blower Door test or a visual inspection, and every other state so far has allowed the visual inspection.
You can get all the details by downloading the Georgia State Supplements and Amendments to the International Energy Conservation Code (pdf), which is based on the 2009 IECC. In that document, you'll find the qualifications necessary to become a Duct and Envelope Tightness (DET) Verifier. I'll save you the time and effort of having to download the pdf file and look it up, though. Here's the relevant section, from page 5:
CERTIFIED DUCT AND ENVELOPE TIGHTNESS (DET) VERIFIER. A certified DET verifier shall be a certified Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS) rater, or be a certified Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor, or be a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Analyst, or successfully complete a certified DET verifier course that is approved by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
That last section refers to a special class that will be offered just to teach people how to do Blower Door and duct leakage tests. The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) is about to issue a contract for statewide training to get more certified DET verifiers across the state. Six companies have put in proposals, and they'll choose one of those in the next two weeks. I'll provide more info here as I get it.
One question that's come up a number of times already is whether the testing must be done by a third party. The answer is no, builders can do the infiltration testing on their own houses, and HVAC contractors can test their own duct systems for leakage. Most likely, the majority of the testing will be done by third parties because most builders and HVAC contractors probably aren't going to rush out to get certified and buy Blower Doors and Duct Blasters.
This is great news for the people who end up buying those homes and great news for home energy raters and auditors who own Blower Doors and are certified to use them. I read in an article some time ago that there are three types of duct systems: Regular, sealed, and sealed and tested. This applies to homes, too, and it's the absolute truth. If it hasn't been tested, it's probably not as tight as the contractors think it is.