Home Energy November December 2012 : Page 3

LETTERS 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702 (510)524-5405 contact@homeenergy.org www.homeenergy.org ________________ USING DUCT TESTERS In the July/Aug ’12 Home Energy there is an article on duct blasters (“Testing Duct Testers,” p. 4). There is a sentence in the article that states: “One approach would be to increase the fl ow and pressure to 50 Pa and divide the result in half for a 25 Pa reading.” This isn’t quite right, because the fl ow is not linearly proportional to pressure. For duct leaks, the fl ow is proportional to the pressure to the power of 0.6. So translating from 50 Pa to 25 Pa, you need to divide by about 1.5 (that is, (50/25)^0.6). Iain Walker Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Senior Executive Editor Executive Editor Editor Assistant Editor Design & Production Manager Design Associate Technical Editors Alan Meier Iain Walker Jim Gunshinan Macie Melendez Kate Henke Leanne Maxwell Henry Gifford Steve Greenberg Chris Stratton Contributing Editor Steve Mann Copyeditor Irene Elmer Writers This Issue Oliver Carman, Laure-Jeanne Davignon, Thomas Dolan, Pat Fox, Sarah Frye, Cortney Krauss, Sean Maxwell, Courtney Moriarta, Dave Stecher, Jason Todd Publisher Marketing Intern Controller Office & Advertising Manager Fulfillment Manager O ffice Assistant Tom White Mark Barroll Jan Elkington Maggie Forti Alana Shindler Toni White Author Paul Raymer replies: Thanks for the input. Always welcome. That must have been a misinter-pretation of a process I got elsewhere. Luckily the fl ows I was referring to are pretty small. Advertising Home Energy requires all advertisers to provide documentation to support any claims of product effi ciency and performance contained in ads. We welcome companies involved in residential conservation to join this select group. It includes manufacturers of conservation materials, tools, instrumentation, computer software, and effi cient appliances, and providers of technical services, training, and labor. For advertising rates, contact: Chris Docchio, Tel: (412)424-0046, e-mail: cdochio@affordablecomfort.org. Home Energy is published by Energy Auditor & Retrofi tter, Incorporated President, Alan Meier Executive Director, Tom White HOME ENERGY ON FACEBOOK Just saw a picture of your magazine cov-er on Facebook (Sept/Oct ’12). A tease on the cover says, “Converting from Steam to Hydronic Heat.” As a heating contractor for the last 32 years, I can assure you that steam is hydronic. Hydronic is the use of water in either the liquid or gaseous (steam) form as a heat transfer medium. Don’t mean to be a nitpicker but hydronic heat has only a 7% mar-ket share nationwide, mostly in the Northeast and we need all the good press we can get! HVA C TO WH OLE -HO USE CON TRAC TOR ? ▪ SEPTEMBER/NOV EMBER 2012 ASH RAE IN WEATHE RIZ ATI ON Board of Directors Karen Butterfi eld Francis Babineau David Canny Robert Knight Joseph Kuonen Maureen Mahle Alan Meier Bill Parlapiano III Ted Pope Iain Walker Steve Baden Marcus Bianchi Michael Blasnik Chris Dorsi Doug Garrett Theresa Gilbride Ron Judkoff Rick Karg Courtney Moriarta John Porterfi eld Greg Thomas Linda Wigington Edward Wyatt Larry Zarker SunPower Corporation Johns Manville Pacifi c Gas & Electric Bevilacqua-Knight, Incorporated CLEAResult Steven Winter Associates Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory PECI Energy Solutions Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory RESNET Owens Corning M. Blasnik & Associates Habitat X Building Performance & Comfort, Inc. Pacifi c Northwest National Laboratory National Renewable Energy Laboratory R. J. Karg Associates SRA International eZing, Inc. Performance Systems Development ACI Scientifi c Certifi cation Systems Building Performance Institute Editorial Advisory Board Healthy and Efficient Hous ing Weather-Stripping Windows Conver ting to Hydronic from Steam Heating Demand-C ontrolled Pumps Robert C. O’Brien Technical Heating Company Mt. Sinai, New York EDITORS’ NOTE: We shortened the cover line to say “Converting from Steam to Hydronic Heating” because the actual title of the article was a bit too long for the space. The full title of the article is “179 Henry Street—A Case Study in Converting from Two-Pipe Steam to Hydronic Heating” (p. 32). Home Energy (ISSN 0896-9442) is a bimonthly publication of Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. EA&R is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the dissemination of objective information on residential energy conservation. Yearly subscription rate: $75 for six issues. Canada and other foreign countries U.S. $90, payable by U.S. money order only. Subscribe on our web site at www.homeenergy. org. Periodical postage paid at Berkeley, California, and additional mailing office. In accordance with U.S. postal regulations, the following circulation information is provided. Average number of copies for each issue during preceding 12 months: Total (net press run) 5,217; paid/requested circulation (mail subscription) 3,821; free distribution by mail 133; free distribution outside the mail 906; total free distribution 1,039; total distribution 4,860; copies not distributed (office/leftovers/spoiled) 357; percent paid/requested circulation 79%. postmaster: Send address changes to Home Energy, 1250 Addison Street, Suite 211B, Berkeley, CA 94702. Return undeliverable Canada addresses to: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, e-mail: returnsIL@imex.pb.com. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, gratefully accepts contributions from institutions and firms interested in promoting energy conservation. © Copyright 2012, Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated. Energy Auditor and Retrofitter, Incorporated, grants authorization to photocopy material from Home Energy for internal or personal use under circumstances that do not violate the fair use provisions of the copyright act. For permission to reprint, write to the above address. Printed on recycled paper Author Dan Rieber replies: What the gentleman says is true. My title assumed of the reader lots of knowledge in the area to understand the difference. Here in New York City, we don’t call steam heat hydronic heating (even though technically speaking it is). We refer to hydronic heating as using circu-lating hot water to heat a building, as opposed to using steam. It’s all semantics, but I don’t disagree. www. homeenergy.org 3

LETTERS

USING DUCT TESTERS<br /> In the July/Aug ’12 Home Energy there is an article on duct blasters (“Testing Duct Testers,” p. 4). There is a sentence in the article that states: “One approach would be to increase the flow and pressure to 50 Pa and divide the result in half for a 25 Pa reading.” This isn’t quite right, because the flow is not linearly proportional to pressure. For duct leaks, the flow is proportional to the pressure to the power of 0.6. So translating from 50 Pa to 25 Pa, you need to divide by about 1.5 (that is, (50/25)^0.6).<br /> <br /> Author Paul Raymer replies:<br /> Thanks for the input. Always welcome. That must have been a misinterpretation of a process I got elsewhere. Luckily the flows I was referring to are pretty small.<br /> <br /> HOME ENERGY ON FACEBOOK<br /> Just saw a picture of your magazine cover on Facebook (Sept/Oct ’12). A tease on the cover says, “Converting from Steam to Hydronic Heat.” As a heating contractor for the last 32 years, I can assure you that steam is hydronic. Hydronic is the use of water in either the liquid or gaseous (steam) form as a heat transfer medium.<br /> <br /> Don’t mean to be a nitpicker but hydronic heat has only a 7% market share nationwide, mostly in the Northeast and we need all the good press we can get!<br /> <br /> EDITORS’ NOTE: We shortened the cover line to say “Converting from Steam to Hydronic Heating” because the actual title of the article was a bit too long for the space. The full title of the article is “179 Henry Street—A Case Study in Converting from Two-Pipe Steam to Hydronic Heating”.<br /> <br /> Author Dan Rieber replies:<br /> What the gentleman says is true. My title assumed of the reader lots of knowledge in the area to understand the difference. Here in New York City, we don’t call steam heat hydronic heating (even though technically speaking it is). We refer to hydronic heating as using circulating hot water to heat a building, as opposed to using steam. It’s all semantics, but I don’t disagree.<br /> <br /> ENERGY UPGRADE<br /> I just finished your recent article in Home Energy regarding the California PG&E Energy Upgrade California (EUC) program (“Energy Upgrade California,” Sept/Oct ’12, p. 6). I really enjoyed the article (along with many in past issues); lots of good information, much of it familiar to me working in the New Hampshire Home Performance with Energy Star (HPWES) program. Most of my background is as a building analyst, but I’m finding myself more involved in weatherization program QA/QC.<br /> <br /> (1) One thing I don’t understand is, Why do utilities design and brand their own program, when the HPWES program is pretty well defined with good rules laid out for operation and monitoring of the program? I’m figuring it’s more expensive to design and brand a new program like EUC, than to pick up the HPWES template and run with it. Are there objections to the HPWES program that convince utilities to go with their own program instead? Any thoughts?<br /> <br /> (2) Also, I work in the QA section of the New Hampshire HPWES program and I’d like to get some advice from more experienced pros like you on how to conduct post-weatherization inspections. Basically our template is to go out to the home after the contractor has left, interview the client, and review and inspect the list of weatherization items the contractor has invoiced the utility for. I’ve felt that this approach is lacking the direct discussion with the contractors when a deficiency or a question comes up regarding the install. Would you say that most of your QA’s are done while the contractor is still on site, finishing up and testing out? I’ve felt this would be a worthwhile change to our procedure and would like your input. The business of weatherization QA/QC is of itself a specialized part of the field, but I have found little specific training or even any weblogs dedicated to it. Do you have any articles coming up or know of any training specific on the business of weatherization QA?<br /> <br /> Thanks for any help you can provide. I look forward to your future Home Energy articles.<br /> <br /> Author Steve Mann replies:<br /> Regarding your first question, I wasn’t there when PG&E (or the other utilities) designed their programs, so I can’t explain why they seemingly invented everything from scratch. I do know that some of the sampling requirements in PG&E’s program were very similar to Home Performance with Energy Star, so I believe someone in the design process was at least familiar with HPwES. Another factor, which may or may not have come into play in this particular case, is that large organizations generally have a mind of their own, and lots of resources, and feel compelled to do their own thing, regardless of what’s already out there and proven, thinking their program will be absolutely, positively better. I know from first-hand experience that when that happens, they often don’t have any in-house expertise to point them towards some existing excellent resources.<br /> <br /> Based on your description of your background, you’re probably much more experienced than I in this type of program. Having said that, here are my observations about the PG&E program relating to your second question.<br /> <br /> We started out doing our QA after the fact, with the homeowner, as you describe, then contacting the contractor if there were problems. This created a number of issues: <br /> <br /> One more possibly unwelcome intrusion into the household. Some homeowners welcomed the extra eyeballs, some were tired of the whole process and didn’t want to be bothered. The latter cases made it tough for us to make sure we had good QA samples.<br /> <br /> The follow-up with the contractor generally didn’t work out that well, especially if the rebate had already been paid. First, there was no financial incentive to the contractor (in fact, there was a financial disincentive). Threatening to remove them from the program might or might not motivate them. Our success with all but a handful of contractors that were doing seriously substandard work was marginal.<br /> <br /> Towards the end of my tenure at Build It Green, we came to the realization that doing the final test-out with the contractor, as you also describe, was a better approach. Not only could we identify problems and fix them immediately, we could use it as a mentoring opportunity. Additionally, it had less of an impact on both the contractor and the homeowner. I’m not sure how much of that approach has ultimately been adopted by Build it Green, but the QA team recognized the value of that approach.<br /> <br /> In answer to your final question unfortunately, I don’t know of any good training or blogs specifically dedicated to weatherization QA. Perhaps Home Energy’s Training Guide has some pointers, or other Home Energy readers have some suggestions. I would post this question to the Home Energy Pros blog (www.homeenergypros.lbl.gov). You might even be able to start a blog there covering this topic.

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