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Achieving airtightness IS NOT hard, it just takes careful planning, attention to detail, and pride in your work . . . Last week we had the final blower door test. The one that counts towards PHI certification. The one that will make the difference for years to come. Our initial blower door test, performed in March 2019, was beyond my expectations. 0.17 ACH50. Windows were installed, the air barrier (Intello) was exposed, but there were only a couple of penetrations through it. Fast forward to last week. Nearly a dozen total penetrations through the air barrier, windows had been installed for over a year, and the wood stove had been installed. I’d taken care to seal all the penetrations, but the wood stove made me nervous. The test is run using the EN13829, Method A standard. This includes both depressurization and pressurization of the envelope at various differential pressure steps. Depressurization is first. The results...0.14 ACH50! Lower than the initial test - even with the wood stove installed! Next was pressurization. Again...0.14 ACH50! Absolutely incredible. Anyone can build airtight. I’d never built a house prior to our project. I’m not a genius, nor am I a wizard with air sealing tapes. I like to plan, am a little OCD when it comes to detail, and really take pride in what I do. That’s it. Nothing magical. Nothing unattainable. There’s no reason at all that my results can’t be repeated by others. Thank you to @emubldgscience for the countless hours of details, planning, and support, @foursevenfivedotcom for providing the Pro Clima products, and absolutely amazing support to back them up, used in our project, and @advantagewoodwork for the bombproof, beautiful Smartwin Compact windows and Smartwin Entrance door. Check these folks out. They provide amazing services and products . . . #beartoothpassivehouse #beartoothph #beartoothphcc #redlodgepassivehouse #highperformancehomes #montana #redlodge #myredlodge #passivehouse #passivhaus #runwildbuildpassive #blowerdoortest #retrotec #airtight #airtightness
Ground loop preheat data . . . This graph shows 3 weeks worth of data from the ground loop preheat unit. X-axis is outdoor temp in deg F. Y-axis is the temperature increase being measured across the ground loop heat exchanger. I’m capturing this data using Sensorpush sensors. At colder outdoor temps we’re seeing over 30 degrees worth of heating from the ground loop system. It makes sense that we lose heating efficiency at warmer outdoor temps. Energy consumption of the pump when it is circulating is between 30-35 watts. Tons of different ways to use/analyze this data, so more to come as more data is gathered. Any guesses as to why we’re seeing a couple different slopes in the data? . . . #beartoothpassivehouse #beartoothph #beartoothphcc #redlodgepassivehouse #highperformancehomes #montana #redlodge #myredlodge #passivehouse #passivhaus #runwildbuildpassive #data #geothermal #erv #zehnder #sensorpush @sensorpushtech @zehnderamerica
FREE BEER! . . . Come take a look at the most comfortable digs in the great, cold state of Montana. And drink some free beer while you’re at it (if you come on Saturday)! I’ll be on site for informal tours from 9-6 Friday-Sunday, plus we’ll have a guided tour covering the house and the basics of High Performance construction on Saturday at 11:30 (this is where the free beer part comes in 😉😉😉). Address to use for directions is below. It’s the big black house on the left before going through the gate, can’t miss it. Link is also in my bio. Type 5829 in the search box at the top and then click Details towards the bottom of the next page . . . 93 W Palisade Basin Dr Red Lodge, MT . . . #beartoothpassivehouse #beartoothph #beartoothphcc #redlodgepassivehouse #highperformancehomes #montana #redlodge #myredlodge #passivehouse #passivhaus #runwildbuildpassive #iphopendays
Cold climate moisture recovery . . . ERV or HRV in a cold climate? I’ve heard a number of debates on this in the past, but the two pictures show why you want an ERV in a cold climate. Pic 1: We’re currently bringing 19 degree air at 63% relative humidity into the house. It is passing over the ground loop preheater, where it warms up by 26 degrees. This warming drops the RH to 24%, pretty dry. Pic 2: It then enters the heat exchanger and is warmed up another 18 degrees or so (by the outgoing air) before ultimately entering the living spaces of the house. We have an ERV, so we’re also transferring moisture from the outgoing air to the incoming air. This can be seen in the RH increase to 37%. Had we were to have an HRV, the RH of the incoming air would drop into the mid teens, which is really dry. The outside air during winter in a cold climate is super dry, so you don’t want to pump it directly into your house. You want to recover as much of the moisture as possible being generated from inside the space, and this is precisely what an ERV is capable of doing. This will keep the indoor space nice and comfortable all winter long . . . #beartoothpassivehouse #beartoothph #beartoothphcc #redlodgepassivehouse #highperformancehomes #montana #redlodge #myredlodge #passivehouse #passivhaus #runwildbuildpassive #humidity #buildingscience #relativehumidity
Zehnder ComfoFond-L Q . . . ComfoFond is fully operational. This unit preheats the outside air before it enters the ERV whenever it is below freezing. It consists of a small pump, a fin-and-tube heat exchanger, and a long run of pex buried 4-6 ft underground. It utilizes the heat of the ground to warm up the outside air. The antifreeze used in the system is a slightly diluted Cryo-Tek 100. There is a Sensorpush sensor located in the ComfoFond inlet as well as 4 additional Sensorpush sensors located in each of the chambers of the ERV. These sensors allow us to track the long term performance of the ventilation system and can easily help diagnose any issues. Last pic shows the current performance of the ComfoFond. The flow rate was low (41 cfm) at this time, so that helps the numbers, but the ComfoFond was warming 7 deg outside air to nearly 46 degrees. At a more standard flow rate (115 cfm) it was increasing the temp by 33 degrees. Now guess time for anyone who has read this far - how many watts does this unit consume while in operation (no looking at the spec sheet for hints)? . . . #beartoothpassivehouse #beartoothph #beartoothphcc #redlodgepassivehouse #highperformancehomes #montana #redlodge #myredlodge #passivehouse #passivhaus #runwildbuildpassive #ventilation #heatrecovery #erv #zehnder #antifreeze #sensors #data @sensorpushtech @zehnderamerica @zehnder_group_ag
High performance, airtight, properly insulated construction is where it’s at! . . . Just starting to get a sense of what a Passive House feels like. We’re not even living in the house (so little, to no, internal heat gains - i.e showers, cooking, etc.) and the comfort is remarkable. Tiny little Hearthstone Craftsbury stove provides all of the heat needed to keep the entire place comfortable. Very excited to get moved in over the next couple weeks . . . #beartoothpassivehouse #beartoothph #beartoothphcc #redlodgepassivehouse #highperformancehomes #montana #redlodge #myredlodge #passivehouse #passivhaus #runwildbuildpassive