Certified Energy Advisor (CEA)
What is a CEA?
CEAs are experts in home energy efficiency. They’re certified by Natural Resources Canada to deliver the EnerGuide Rating Service for new homes as well as upgrade renovations. They are trained to use NRCAN’s energy simulation software (“HOT2000”) and to perform blower door air leakage testing. They must update their training annually.
Tips for working with a CEA
- Start NOW. It’s a reasonable bet that as the new code requires blower door testing, existing CEAs will see their workloads increase quickly. Establishing a relationship with a CEA now, and learning the process around testing, will help you keep things moving once demand for his or her services gets steep.
- Engage your CEA early in your process. Talking to a CEA when you’re in the pre-build phase may save you time and effort down the road. Doing a pre-drywall test or using thermography on at least one home will provide you tips for improvement before it’s too late to make a difference.
- Ask your CEA about onsite education. Many can work with your trades people to ensure basics like air sealing are done effectively right from the start.
- Treat your CEA like any other professional service provider you hire. Ask for competitive pricing and timely delivery of their service.
Blower Door Test (BDT)
What is a blower door test?
A blower door test is a way to check how air-tightness of a structure. It is designed to check for air leaks in walls, attics, and mechanical penetrations. While a blower door test does not evaluate how well a structure is insulated, it can reveal drafty walls and air-bypass situations that could undermine otherwise well insulated wall assemblies. A poorly sealed house will have higher utility bills, issues with comfort, and potential mold and rot issues caused by moisture.
Does my building need a blower door test?
Blower door testing is a crucial part of energy audits for those seeking certain high-performance certifications. They may even be required by building/energy code depending on the type of structure and the specific code requirements in your own municipality.
How does a blower door test work?
A blower door kit consists of a frame covered in canvas that can be adjusted to cover an exterior door opening. A calibrated fan fits inside the frame and canvas to either pressurizes or depressurizes the building. A manometer sensor mounted inside the fan box reads the indoor pressure as well as the outdoor pressure which is displayed on the digital gauge. If the house is pressurized, the manometer tracks how much air is escaping to the outdoors through leaky areas. If the house is depressurized, the manometer tracks how much outdoor air is being sucked in through the leaking areas into the envelope. Many prefer to depressurize the house because this method won’t blow open any dampers on dryer vents, bath vents, that could potentially give you less accurate readings.
Once the pressure is introduced, air leaks in the envelope can be tracked down with a smoker or thermal imaging camera.
How long does a blower door test take?
The actual blower door test takes approximately 15 minutes to run. It’s the prepping that takes the longest, about 1.5 hours on a standard home. Prepping the building includes:
- Closing and locking all exterior doors and windows
- Opening all interior doors
- Sealing off chimneys
- All combustible appliances need to be turned off or set to pilot
When is the best time to conduct a blower door test?
Blower tests can be done all year around. However, thermal cameras work better (show more contrast) when there is a large temperature difference between the inside and outside.
How much does it cost to get a blower door test done?
You can hire a professional to perform a blower door test and energy audit for approximately $300-$400 for an average sized house.
A basic blower door starter kit consists of the following:
- Pressure gauge assembly (color coded hoses and ports to reduce user error)
- Tubing to connect gauge to fan and gauge to outside
Thermal Imaging – Infrared Camera(IR)
What is an Infrared Thermography using IR Camera?
Infrared thermography detects infrared energy (heat) emitted from an object and converts it into an electronic signal. Signals are then converted to temperature (infrared energy emitted from an object is directly proportional to its temperature), and displays images of temperature distribution, creating visual images of heat. These images are then read by a non-contact camera.
Infrared light or thermography is the use of an infrared imaging and measurement camera to “see” and “measure” thermal energy that’s emitted from an object. Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot. In a construction setting, builders can use infrared images to locate the places where heat is leaking from a building, and identify ways to improve their installation of windows, door, insulation and air sealing. If you’re looking for inexpensive ways to improve the energy efficiency of your next build, consider utilizing infrared imaging at the pre-drywall stage. The discoveries you make can be communicated to your crews and implemented throughout the project.
Infrared sensors are used in a wide variety of applications and can be used in any situation that requires thermal energy detection. An infrared inspection can identify and document moisture intrusion, energy loss, and hot spots.
In terms of energy loss, an IR camera can detect:
- heat loss and air infiltration in walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors;
- damaged and/or malfunctioning radiant heating systems;
- air-conditioner compressor leaks;
- broken seals in double-paned windows; and
- missing or low insulation levels in walls.
In terms of detecting moisture intrusion, an IR camera can locate:
- plumbing leaks;
- hidden roof leaks before they cause serious damage;
- wet insulation; and
- water and moisture intrusion around penetrations and at the foundation and building envelope that could lead to structural damage and mold.
IR cameras are equally effective at locating hot spots in the home, including:
- circuit breakers in need of immediate replacement;
- overloaded and undersized circuits;
- overheated electrical equipment and components;
- electrical faults before they cause a fire; and
- dangerous flue leaks, which can lead to carbon monoxide buildup.
What are the Advantages?
- Discovery of where heat loss is occurring;
- Walls and ceilings are examined in a non-invasive and non-destructive testing;
- It’s time-saving, it allows for larger areas to be examined quickly;
- It allows examination of areas that are not visible to the naked eye;
- It allows examination of areas that are difficult to access, such as tall ceilings;
- It helps locate sources of moisture intrusion;
- It helps determine the extent of moisture intrusion;
- It allows the user to trace the moisture intrusion through other affected areas; and
- It provides visual documentation of moisture intrusion.
What are the Disadvantages & Limitations?
- They are incapable of distinguishing between objects that expose similar thermal energy levels;
- Thermal energy can be reflected off shiny surfaces such as polished metal and glass and so many factors can affect the apparent temperature and thermal imaging. Proper setting and knowledge of an IR camera is essential;
- An IR camera should be operated by a trained thermographer with building science knowledge;
- IR cameras cannot see through walls. IR cameras are often to be used with other instruments such as a moisture meter, or blueprint drawing of the building to confirm what and if a problem exists;
- Because thermal imaging uses temperature differences as an image, weather can sometimes be a challenge for a variety building problems (i.e. roof leaks and heat loss). It is better suited to be used in colder months when there is a greater difference between inside and outside temperatures. During the warmer season, thermography is more effective at night when temperatures drop. Taking infrared thermal images outside on a hot day or at night when it’s raining is also not recommended.
Thermal Imaging Services:
- We can offer the service as a standalone or in combination with the energy evaluation service. Prices will vary according to required tests. Contact us for more information.
Home Renovation – Upgrading
Ever felt confused while prioritizing home upgrades or wasted money on improvements that didn’t perform as promised? You’re not alone. We are here to help.
Learn to make your home more energy efficient, comfortable and healthy, while spending your money wisely, with an EnerGuide home evaluation. This takes the guesswork out of which upgrade would work best for you and your family.
Many Energy Efficiency Upgrades Are Not Cost Effective and Can Actually Be Detrimental to Your Home.
Most people believe that new windows or more insulation increase a home’s comfort. Although, neither of those are a one-and-done solution, some of these renovations may actually create more issues than you think. You need to ask yourself: “How does changing one thing affect the operation of my home as a whole?”
An EnerGuide Home Evaluation approaches your home as “one system” and gives you information on how to improve your whole home.
Your home is a system
Your home is comprised of many different parts: walls, windows, ceilings, foundation, heating system, occupant activities; all of which interact with each other. With heat, moisture, and air, both inside and outside of the home, changes to any part of the system may affect the way heat, moisture, and air interacts with each other. This may have detrimental effects on the home. Keeping this in mind, you need to understand building science to carry out effective energy efficiency measures. At CAntech Energy Advisors, an EnerGuide home evaluation is more than just an energy audit. We understand and approach your home as a system before recommending any upgrades.
Renovate with Confidence:
- Become better informed and educated so as to make better decisions
- Receive third-party expert advice based on facts, not opinions or marketing up sells
- Renovations or upgrades may be eligible for the mortgage premium refund
- Renovations or upgrades may be eligible for rebates from various sources
- Make your home more comfortable
Reduce Energy Costs:
- Receive a renovation upgrade report that provides a detailed and customized roadmap with recommendations on how to improve your home’s energy performance.
- Learn where to spend your money wisely, by taking the guesswork out of renovation. Prioritizing what is really needed and truly cost effective.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
Energy reduction going green saving the planet with global warming by reducing your carbon foot print
- Reduce energy consumption
- Understand and participate in green initiatives
- Understand and participate in reducing the effects of global warming
What you receive with an EnerGuide Home Evaluation for your home
A Homeowner Information Sheet:
A homeowner Information sheet includes detailed information about your home and its energy use.
An EnerGuide Rating and Label:
An EnerGuide rating and label displays the energy performance of your home. This is done by estimating the net amount of energy a home utilizes in a year and displays the rated energy consumption in GJ/year per square meter.
A Renovation Upgrade Report: A renovation upgrade report provides a detailed and customized roadmap with recommendations on how to improve your home’s energy performance. This is ideal for existing homeowners who are looking to renovate their home and implement more energy efficient upgrades.
What to expect during an EnerGuide Home Evaluation.
During the on-site evaluation, we will collect the following data from your home:
- We will perform a comprehensive assessment of the building envelope: windows, doors, ceilings, walls, foundation. A visual inspection and measurement is done to determine surface area, insulation levels, dimensions/volume and the orientation (to accommodate for solar gain) of your home.
- We perform a comprehensive assessment of mechanical systems: heating system, air conditioning, ventilation system and water heater.
- Blower door test: (A Blower Door Test is performed to determine the air tightness of your home and identify air leaks)
- With the Blower Door running, we will walk with you throughout your home to identify common areas of air infiltration. A Blower Door test will determine:
- Measurement of air changes per hour at 50 Pa
- Location of major air leakage areas/ ELA (estimated leakage area) of the home. The ELA is expressed in square inches
- Depressurization test when required (combustion spillage)
- Energy modelling of all components to determine the energy efficiency of your home.
- By comparing your home to a home built to a National Building Code (as a baseline)
- Recommended home upgrades and potential energy savings
- ERS certified label for your home
- Intensity energy rating of your home
The energy assessment will provide you with calculated potential energy savings on any recommended upgrades. A custom certified ERS report and label for your home.
Am I obliged to undertake the recommended upgrades?
No. This is simply a consulting service that provides homeowners information on increasing energy efficiency and comfort in their home. There is no obligation to undertake any of the recommended upgrades.
When is a follow-up evaluation recommended?
- When applying for government grants
- If you have made major improvements to the energy efficiency of your home after the initial energy evaluation, new rating and label is recommended. Especially if you are selling your home as this a great feature to have and may increase your home value.