We pride ourselves in building energy-efficient homes. It is a fundamental piece of how we design and build our homes. We believe it to be essential to the well-being of our home buyers as well as to our planet. Even though we are confident that our homes are performance built, it is helpful to understand that we get it independently tested. In fact, our testing agency, Moffett Energy, gives a quick synopsis about the process of testing home.
It’s a 4-stage process.
1. We do a full design review of a floor plan. This is where we will determine certain areas that we need to look at in our inspections, and we also create the preliminary energy model.
Note From Stafford: This design process gives us an initial idea of how the home will perform once it is built. The energy model, based on our building techniques, can tell us how well the home will perform and the energy-savings it should deliver.
2. Rough inspection: This happens right after wall insulation but before drywall. We look at the following:
b. Air sealing,
d. Air barriers – this can be rigid barriers behind tubs/fireplaces, barriers behind knee walls, etc.
f. We will do a duct test if possible at this point,
g. Solar ready
The importance of this stage allows us to verify energy-efficient features completed. For instance, we seal a home by wrapping it and then blowing insulation. A third-party will have a challenging time verifying this information without seeing it first. Our independent audits help verify that our home is completed to our standards.
3. Final inspection: A final inspection can occur as early as power and carpet are in but the later the better to get the most accurate results. In the final inspection we check the following:
a. Crawl and attic insulation,
d. Furnace and water heater,
e. Blower door testing,
f. Ventilation and exhaust fan testing
The final inspection tells a very important story. A review of the entire home including items like the insulation, lighting, energy rated appliances are all checked. A blower door test is significant which assess if there is any air loss with the house. The test comes back with information about any potential leaks that the home might have. This really gives a good picture of how well the home is built and more importantly, how energy-efficient the home is.
4. A final energy model and paperwork is filed for certification. Our independent consultant adjusts the energy model to be in line with field testing and submit everything for home certifications. The paperwork is all about providing the information to submit to the Energy Trust of Oregon for certification. The certification allows us to verify that our standards are meeting our expected goal of building homes 30% or more above code.
A blower test depressurizes the home by sucking air out of the house. Air leaks, if any, can be identified from the depressurization. A technician uses a heat monitor to identify any leaks in the house.