Building HVAC Science covers a broad array of topics in building science and HVAC diagnostics, as well as human comfort, health, and safety. Hosted by HVAC measurement and building performance expert Bill Spohn, this show will take a deep dive into all things that relate to buildings and people in the built environment.
“I grew up thinking that a research scientist was a natural thing to be.” Stephen Hawking There’s physical science. And there’s a kind of science as to how the mind works and how people achieve their dreams. Blend one-part plasma fusion physics with one-part commercial real estate and stir this in an open and creative mind and you have Peter Capuciati, the Chairman and Founder of Bluon and the guest of today’s podcast. Starting in 2011, Peter has led the team at Bluon to develop a true solution for R-22 replacement. It’s called TdX-20 (R-458a), something unlike anything the HVACR world has ever seen. It truly is an energy saving product, as they are demonstrating amp draw decreases of 10-20% and increases in capacity of 3-6%. We love digging into the science of HVAC in this podcast, and Peter is the perfect tour guide for the challenging journey of creating a refrigerant chemistry that has been proven to perform in about 80% of R-22 systems. This is backed up by real-world testing on equipment, not just simulations After an easy, free registration and testing process, techs can gain full access to the operating manuals of over 22,000 types of R-22 units as well as individual retrofit instructions and compatibility ratings for each unit. Beyond all this, Bluon provides the training, know-how and demonstrates (sometimes in person) the skills necessary to successful do a successful conversion. If this sounds like a commercial for Bluon, it sort of is, as we sell Bluon at TruTech Tools. However, this is exactly the kind of product we love selling; smart, well supported and one that relieves a major pain point for our customers. Plus, it’s fun working with the energetic Ninja team at Bluon, or as Peter calls them the Analog Renaissance Cowboys. You can learn more about Bloun at www.BluonEnergy.com and join the thousand technicians every month that are downloading and using the app.
“The only think I have learnt over the years is that if you enjoy your work and put in best efforts it will show. If you follow this process, things work out. But if you go chasing a formula, success will elude you.” Mahesh Babu While building his own house, John Semmelhack’s innate curiosity grew as he researched the best was to design and build a home. This lead him to start his own business, Think Little. The name of his business is deceptive as John is truly a big thinker, who acts in quiet ways to create comfortable, energy efficient and durable homes that have excellent indoor air quality. Lend us your ears to learn how following simple, yet important processes lead to amazing results. We discuss HVAC Air filtration and why and how to get super-inexpensive, extremely effective filtration He employs test and measurement at every appropriate juncture as well as post work, continuous monitoring for IAQ, energy and comfort. These factors are easier to measure than ever before! John also reviews aspects of running this type of business including the variety of services he has developed over the years. John Semmelhack is the owner of Think Little (www.think-little.com) and co-owner of Comparetto Comfort Solutions, a pair of home performance consulting and contracting firms based in Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia. Think Little specializes in building enclosure and mechanical system design and commissioning for single-family and multi-family Passive House and zero-net-energy homes in the mid-Atlantic. Comparetto Comfort Solutions focuses on high performance HVAC installations for new homes in the Charlottesville and Richmond markets, as well as home performance contracting to help meet clients’ comfort, indoor air quality, durability and energy efficiency goals.
“True genius lies not in doing the extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” General Louis H. Wilson, Jr. Building science principles are few and fairly straightforward; ordinary, perhaps. HAM: A lot of it amounts to control the flow of Heat, Air and Moisture. But, like so many things in this world, the devil is in the details. Listen in as I chat with my good friend Nate Adams (a true genius) to get an update on his extraordinarily execution of ordinary measures in his new concept of Home Performance 2.0. This is a follow up to Episode 36, where I interview two of the HP 2.0 practitioners, Neil Comparetto and Michael Housh. Measurements (so near and dear to my heart) are at the core of what he and his HP 2.0 army are all about. For a more complete overview, tune in to a recording of his recent webinar on HP 2.0: www.bit.ly/NATE-HP20 Nate’s book, The Home Comfort Book, is perfect for consumers or practitioners alike and can be found at TruTech Tools or on Amazon. You can reach Nate at Nate@EnergySmartOhio.com.
May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin Yep, Radon is force of evil. Pure evil. Colorless. Odorless. Deadly. But sneaky. It’s deadly over decades. My good friend Dick Kornbluth joins me to unravel the intricacies of all aspects of Radon – a colorless, odorless, poisonous radioactive gas. Dick explains how and where radon is formed, how it gets into the air we breathe and the health impact it has on us. He reveals where the famous 4 picocuries per liter exposure amount comes from, underscoring that there is NO SAFE LEVEL. The US EPA has a treasure trove of information on Radon at www.epa.gov/radon Dick shares with us his extensive and practical experience in how radon gas moves through a structure, how it is measured and how Radon mitigation systems work along with a note about radon resistant construction. Dick is very engaged in the home performance world, and believes an improved understanding of Radon is key part of the home performance goals of healthy, more durable and energy efficient homes and buildings. You can reach Dick at Dick@DickKornbluth.com TruTechTools carries a broad array of radon detectors. Learn more at this link: https://www.trutechtools.com/radon
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. Jimmy Dean While we picked a specific topic, this is a wide-ranging episode with my friend in the industry, Eric Stromquist of Stromquist.com – 2nd generation controls distributor based out of Atlanta, GA. We discuss our thoughts and opinions on: How hard it is to actually get access to people – cold calling is basically dead Closed vs. open architecture in building automation systems C suite execs focus on productivity, which ties in to all building systems How the internet has changed the way information is shared- knowledge hoarding is done The psychological effects of improper lighting And much, much more. Eric teams up with Ken Smyers to manage a ton of educational and informative resources centered around building controls and automation that you will find at www.ControlTrends.org They even have their own Awards ceremony that takes place before the AHR Expo! Eric is an avid podcaster and actually had me on his show in Episode 311! YouTube link: http://bit.ly/YT-ControlTrendsBS Podcast link http://bit.ly/ControlTrendBS starting 31:39
To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha HVAC and building performance contractors are seeing more homes built or retrofit to tighter levels. Blower door test outs like 3, 2, 1 ACH50 or less. What do you do when the “house can’t breathe?” Hopefully, you see the humor in that statement. Of course - you build it tight and ventilate it right! (Credit for that phrase likely goes to Earle Perera and Lynn Parkins as the title for their article in the June 1992 Building Services Journal a UK publication) Listen in as Ty Newell founder of BuildEquinox shares with us how he got to the point of feeling the need to create his own ventilation product, the CERV2: Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator. This unique product senses when to run, ventilates or recirculates the “fresh air stores” in the space using a small variable output heat pump. It incorporates slick controls and internet connectivity. Plus, I cannot wait to be using it the new high-performance home we are building for occupancy by the summer of 2020. Learn more about the product and more importantly the philosophies behind the product by surfing over to www.BuildEquinox.com The BuildEquinox site has numerous white papers, tech specs & installation info, recording and upcoming webinars and more. You can also learn about the net zero house (which includes the CERV 1) that Ty built.
In this age of high technology and Jedi Knights, we often overlook the need of personal involvement, but we do so at our own risk. William H. McRaven (American Solider) Attention all HVAC Techs: Soon someone will be looking over your shoulder. Not it’s not the Homeowner, with severe coffee breath and a million little questions, it’s going to be a Home Energy Rater giving a grade to your HVAC installation. What???!!! Yes, like it or not, this will happen. And it is justified. It’s because the work done by HVAC Technicians is so important; important to the occupant’s comfort, safety and health as well as their utilities bills AND the utility companies in general as they try to balance the supply and demand of energy. Residential HVAC energy demand is a big topic in the utility world. (We’ll do a podcast on this later.) Listen in as Jeremy Begley of HVAC Design Partners of Cincinnati, OH shares with us how paying attention to standards as helped to shape his entrepreneurial career. Specifically, the upcoming ACCA/RESNET standard on Grading the Installation of HVAC Systems. One timely note here: the comment period on the first draft of a new RESNET standard (BSR/RESNET/ACCA 310-201x, Standard for Grading the Installation of HVAC Systems) closes on Aug 6, 2019. If you want to review and/or comment go to this link ASAP www.bit.ly/RESNET-ACCA-310 Jeremy’s got a lot to share with the both the HVAC and Building Performance industries. He came on the podcast to encourage others to review and engage in this and other important HVAC Standards. The methodology in the standard has five steps – a design review, a total duct leakage test, a Blower Fan CFM test, a Blower Fan watt draw test, and a non-invasive evaluation of refrigerant charge (NIST found in MeasureQuick). These five tasks should be completed in sequence and upon completion the results are evaluated for compliance with thresholds. The result of this process is anywhere from a failing system to a grade 1, 2, or 3; with 1 being the top grade and all grades yielding extra points in the HERS rating. Besides being important to HERS ratings, it is basic physics and the methods described have positive impact outside of the rating world. Learn more about the standard itself by going to http://bit.ly/RESNET-310-INFO, where you will find a link to RESNET conference slides on this topic and a link to the other podcast I host, RESTALK, where I interviewed Wes Davis (ACCA) and Den Gamble (EPA) on this standard. If you want to learn more about the services and training (coming) that Jeremy offers you can reach out via the contact form on his website: www.HVACDesignPartners.com
Looking to be a better HVACR Tech? One key aspect is keeping up to date with changing equipment, products and techniques. And that is no mean feat. In order to do so, you need to help yourself to training and education where ever you can get it. Like this podcast… especially because it is on a lesser known topic: HVACR Chemicals and sealants. Mike Walton of CoolAir Products in Maryland, joins us on this episode to focus on 2 of the products he has brought to the US market: AC SmartSeal External- a line and coil repair product and AC SmartSeal Quick Shot, the 3 in 1 internal seal, lube and leak check dye. Interestingly, these two products work best together. Mike discusses how and why he formed the company starting in his garage in 2014. He describes his company’s focus on the technician, by making products that are safe, effective, and easy to use. Part of this ease of use comes because all products are 100 % safe to the touch, non-toxic and non-flammable. That means no warning labels and for our friends in California, no prop 65 issues. Plus, he backs up the product with 3rd party lab testing by Intertek Mike’s got a lot to share with the industry. You can buy Mike’s products at wholesalers across the US or online at www.trutechtools.com/Cool-Air-Products If you want to learn more you can reach out to Mike at www.CoolAirProducts.net or MikeWalton@CoolAirProducts.net
Today we turn the tables and your host becomes the guest! As you may or may not know Marilyn and I are building a new high-performance home this year (2019). Even though I have been involved in home performance for 30 years, it was in the narrow field of test and measurement, not in construction detail and aspects. And because it is our home and our money, everything about it is personal and I have a real hunger for the details which tends to complicate decisions! So, I asked my thoughtful pal, Nate Adams to pitch some questions at me to get me to talk about the subject and share our journey up to this point. We were calling it a high-performance house, but recently I’ve changed that to a new concept (in my mind): personalized performance – it’s what we want our home to be. I hope you enjoy the listen. If you want to learn more you can reach out to Bill at Bill@trutechtools.com or Nate at Nate@energysmartohio.com via his website: www.NateTheHouseWhisperer.com
I’ve never thought about entrepreneurship when it comes to trade associations. I just thought they always existed. Well, in the nascent world of building performance, I should have known better. Listen in as we chat with Ryan Miller, the founder and executive director of the North Carolina Building Performance Association, as he describes his vision for the future of building performance. He believes poor building performance is one big problem to solve and he aims to do it in his state by connecting all the stakeholders with education and information, as well as lobbying and training. And he is not just stopping in his state as he supports and gets involved with like-minded organizations across the country. Pay particular attention to the four points he notes in his strategic plan: Market Valuation Policy and legislation Work Force DevelopmentAnd Consumer Education If you want to learn more you can reach Ryan via his website: www.BuildingNC.org
Some of our listeners have likely heard of the term Home Performance. But have you heard of Home Performance 2.0? Michael Housh and Neil Comparetto join us to describe how they are helping to develop this new approach to serving customers with total home performance. This is a systems being developed by Nate Adams and Ted Kidd. They describe a well performing home as one that is healthy, comfortable, safe, durable and, as a side benefit, uses less energy. Michael and Neil are both trained and experienced HVAC technicians; mechanics in their own words. They discuss how some simple changes in the approach to the way technical work is presented is resulting in better business and happier clients. They describe the HP 2.0 process as consisting of 6 steps: client education, initial PAID consult, a comprehensive planning process, executing the project, QC, and continuous optimization with monitoring. A large part of the client education consists of the resources available at www.NateTheHouseWhisperer.com – there you will find an inexpensive book that educates consumers (and techs!) on home performance, as well as 2 free downloads(chapters from the book) to share with Clients: Home Comfort 101 and HVAC 101. These steps help to remove the pain of being a residential HVAC business owner: (Much of this is based on the Sandler Selling Process) Avoid fights over stuff you can’t fix More Happy Clients - Actually SOLVE client problems, no band aids Smooth out monthly sales with large HP projects in off seasons Onboard Staff Faster-with something else for apprentices to do Fewer Unhappy Clients Reduce Mold Risk Reduce Boredom with Challenging projects and new twists all the time Reduce or eliminate free quotes Increase Ticket Sizes w/o Home Performance Jobs Lower sales and marketing costs, with better word of mouth and paid consultations. Bigger, more satisfying jobs vs Small jobs with lots of up-front work that often don’t solve problems If you want to learn more you can reach Michael at MHoush@HoushHomeEnergy.com and Neil at Neil@ComparettoComfort.com or Nate Adams and Ted Kidd at Nate@EnergySmartOhio.com
You may know the answer to this question: “Why would I want to use an air flow hood?” You might not know the answer to this one: “How do I find a good air flow hood?” Steve Rogers, President and Owner of the Energy Conservatory, joins us to answer both of these questions as well as provide a rich background to his company and his career. We hear how a customer ride-along stimulated a multifaceted investigation into the critical parameters involved in making great residential airflow measurements which could lead to a breakthrough product in the future Steve explains how milkshakes help him focus on customers’ needs in the product development cycle. Visit www.EnergyConservatory.com to learn more about their products and training resources which are available through several distributors including TruTechTools, www.trutechtools.com/EnergyConservatory If you read this before January 24, 2019, you can sign up to watch the webinar Steve will present with TruTech Tools on this topic: sign up link is www.bit.ly/TEC-FLOW If you read this after that date, a recording of that video will be present on the TruTech YouTube channel: www.bit.ly/TruTechTubes
Smartphones are great communications tools for contractors and techs. But how do you organize and effectively share the right photos at the right time? Listen in as Luke Hansen, former roofing contractor and inventor of the CompanyCam App, explains his journey from concept to successful business. His low-cost service allows techs to share rich photo information without clogging up their photo library. Rich info accompanies each photo: date, time, GPS location, user info and mark-ups & notes can be shared in your company, with the customer or with anyone you give the link to. Photos can later be sorted or filtered with data mentioned above. If you’ve tried managing photos in DropBox, you know that takes a lot of discipline to keep things organized. This app will save you hours of time cataloging photos or searching for ones you knew you took. Video functionality is coming soon. Go to www.CompanyCam.com/BHS for a special offer to listeners of this podcast.
How can an IOT (internet of things) based device help home dwellers and home performance contractors? Listen as our guest Jacques Touillon, inventor of the foobot describes what got him started on the journey from a concept to a successful product sold around the world. Jacques’ describes his vision of a future homes that has “invisible” sensors control systems to maintain superb indoor air quality. We discuss the importance of data and data processing, as well as recent environmental events (the wild fires in the Western United States) which shape the continuing development of this product He tells of Home Performance and HVAC contractors using the foobot and similar products to diagnose and solve home owner problems related to indoor air quality and comfort.
Curious about what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Well, so are these three guys. Listen in as business owners Tersh Blissett (Icebound HVAC & Refrigeration), Bryan Orr (Kalos Services) and Bill Spohn (TruTechTools, LTD) discuss what it means to them to run their own businesses. This wide-ranging discussion produced many good nuggets of info as we discuss visionaries, idealism vs. realism, and breaking from the status quo amidst tons of other topics. You can reach these members of the BlueCollar Roots network at Tersh@BlueCollarRoots.com Service Business Mastery Podcast Bryan@HVACRSchool.com HVAC School Podcast Bill@BlueCollarRoots.com Building HVAC Science Podcast
We veer a little off the technical path in this episode as we discuss with Bryan Orr his educational missionary work in Haiti. For the past 2 years, Bryan has led a small team of volunteers to first scope out and recently (November 2018) begin delivering basic trade education to native Haitians as young as 8 years old. We hear about the leap of faith he has taken and how it has proven out in the overwhelmingly warm feedback from the people he has touched. Learn how he addresses the logistical, practical and communications challenges he encounters with a systematic approach in a way similar to the way he breaks down the technical and business challenges in his everyday life as an HVAC Contractor/Owner. We also gain insight into what is coming next for his work in Haiti. If you want to learn more or get involved, reach out to Bryan@HVACRSchool.com
You’ll note no last names in this episode title, as I know Grace & Corbett so well. And I think you need to know them better, too. Grace McPhillips Lunsford and Corbett Lunsford have embarked on a road to change the culture of how home performance is perceived by homeowners and galvanize them into action. A major section of this road opens in January 2019, where their TV Show, Home Diagnostics launches on PBS. You can help spread the word on this topic by asking your local PBS station programmer to carry it. Learn more about this and see show clips (“the sizzle reel”) at www.HomeDiagnosis.tv We explore how the topic of home performance is so personal and how the human characteristics of curiosity and playing games (metrics) can transform the market where all can benefit. We also learn what a “tent pole” is and how it has not yet been erected in the field of home performance. Find out how these brave souls continue to walk the talk after their 32-city tour in a tiny lab and into the construction of their new high-performance home in the Atlanta area. Listen as we gain insight into how their technical minds work in a musical fashion: how melody, harmony and timing are analogous to the relationships between materials and systems in the home and the sequencing and consequences of the decisions made in choosing, using and install these systems. This is a really rich episode, so please listen closely! And I will have them back on the podcast. The hub for all their activities is found at www.buildingperformanceworkshop.com/
In this episode, Bill chats with James Childre, founder of RedPointMontana.com, a home performance specialist. James shares with us his enthusiasm for the field and describes his persuasive persistence in preaching home performance in his role as a rater and a home inspector. James discusses his approach with contractors and consumers as well as where he looks for improving at his trade. We explore the topic of making change happen and not losing faith in spite of the apparent slow movement in the industry of home performance. A review from his website well characterizes James: thorough, professional and considerate. “I knew that James would be thorough in his inspection, Professional in the way he handled himself and be considerate in answering my sellers’ questions.” You can reach James by email at James@RedPointMontana.com or visit his website at www.RedPointMontana.com
After 31 years in business, 3 major career changes and 10 products (and counting) later, John Pastorello shares with us how, and more importantly why he built his business, Refrigeration Technologies. John shares with us how growing up in the Atomic Age spurred his curiosity about the atom and yearning to be a nuclear physicist. Fast forward 30 years later and John has managed to create a successful family owned and operated specialty chemical business focusing on all aspects of the air conditioning and refrigeration trades. Learn from John how he approaches his work and gain some insight on how he transitioned from bench chemist to HVAC Contractor, then contracting business owner to the founder of Refrigeration Technologies. Oh, and we also find out how Nylog got its name and how this product was developed by accident. You can reach John at JP@RefrigTech.com or visit their website at www.RefrigTech.com
Blake Reid shares with us the challenges and rewards of doing home performance work in Hawaii which has the most expensive energy, 12 climate zones, no energy code, an active volcano, and an aggressive state climate goal. As a knowledgeable, ethical and honest “wiz kid” contractor, Blake made a huge decision and moved his family from Ithaca, NY to Hawaii to “set up shop” as a home performance contractor. Listen to Blake describe some of his motivations to move as well as why he choose the name www.TerraWattHome.com for his company. Blake shares many of his business techniques which meld with his personal philosophies and encourages all contactors not to “get stuck”. Listeners are encouraged to go to his website and read his blog posts, and if interested, fill out a contact request to get in touch with Blake.
What is LEED? Who is involved in LEED? Why should I care about LEED? In today’s episode, Bill Spohn welcomes one of the leaders in the green building industry, Charlie Cichetti, Owner of Green Building Education Services (www.GEBS.com) and the Sustainable Investment Group (www.SIGEarth.com). Charlie covers the history of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) as well as recent changes and where things are headed in the future. We hear about the shift in focus from buildings to the people that work, live and play in buildings. Charlie shares with us details from his career and passion for the industry and the work he does. He also hosts a podcast where he recently interviewed Bill Spohn. You’ll find it here: Green Building Matters Podcast, Episode 26: Several times we note the Well Building Standard (www.wellcertified.com) as well as other standards and a new health oriented commercial building certification sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (US CDC) called FitWel (www.fitwel.org)
What will housing look like in the future? Who are some of the leaders? What are some the topics driving this industry? Bill Spohn welcomes back Chris Dorsi, contractor, educator, author and founder of HabitatX.com to give an overview of all the great discussions held at the 2018 HabitatX conference. We discuss the human aspect of housing which ties in intimately with the nature of this conference; it’s about the people. We take a walk through the 3 days of the conference* discussing how the structure of the agenda has evolved, who the participants are, including the 3 HabitatX Fellows that were sponsored this year. (Learn more about the fellowship application process by contacting CDorsi@HabitatX.com.) * follow the agenda at www.habitatx.com/2018-summer-national-conference/agenda/ We touch upon the timely topics of passive house construction, healthy homes, building material content disclosures and generating consumer demand for high performing homes. Check out the resources at www.loveschackarchitecture.com, www.PearlCertification.com and www.HaywardScore.com and www.transparencycatalog.com to learn more. New this year is the publication of the HabitatX journal at Medium.com. See there the write ups that mirror this year’s agenda: www.medium.com/habitat-x-journal. Check it out. You don’t want to miss this conference next year… the 2019 agenda will start to take shape by Fall 2018, so check back frequently at www.HabitatX.com
Bill Spohn welcomes Chris Dorsi, contractor, educator, author and founder of HabitatX.com. Chris describes the current arc of his career which he describes as serial interventions starting with cutting timber for housing. Chris shares with us his very thoughtful, respectful and practical perspectives on the housing industry, with a focus on building better habitats for people. We discuss passive houses, factory-built homes and the lost cost of space that no one wants to live in. You’ll also be amongst the first to hear about his new initiative: House and Home: The New Pattern Language where Chris seeks to place in the context of today’s world the concepts set forth in the 1977 publication: A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, et al. In this episode, amongst many other topics, you’ll learn why he founded HabitatX and the meaning for the name for this un-conference/movement.
Show notes AirQuest 4 In this episode, Bill Spohn continues where he left off in Episode 3 of his AirQuest series, discussing airflow measuring methods and techniques. Bill covers vane anemometers as well as the garbage bag method (bag inflation device or BID) For a free copy of the ANSI standard mentioned in this episode go to www.bit.ly/RESNET-380 If you’d like to see a BID in action, the EPA Energy Star program created this explanatory video which can be viewed at this link: www.bit.ly/380-BID For a 4 part video lesson by Bill, start with lesson one on YouTube, at this link: http://bit.ly/AirFlowVideos If you are interested in learning more, you can contact Bill at Bill_Spohn@BlueCollarRoots.com
Show notes AirQuest 3 In this episode, Bill Spohn continues where he left off in Episode 2 of his AirQuest series, discussing airflow measuring methods and techniques. Bill Covers the TrueFlow measuring grid, air flow capture hoods and thermal (hot wire) anemometers. For a 4 part video lesson by Bill, start with lesson one on YouTube, at this link: http://bit.ly/AirFlowVideos If you are interested in learning more, you can contact Bill at Bill_Spohn@BlueCollarRoots.com
Today Ed Kisiel of EKABuild Corp. joins us to discuss the way he goes about constructing super tight homes using standard construction techniques. Ed describes his process and his respect for the House as a System concept: that is the envelope, mechanicals and architectural design all need to work together in harmony. He’s an open minded civil engineer turned builder who has a thirst for learning more about building science, building materials and modes of construction. Some of Ed’s favorite resources include Matt Risinger (www.youtube.com/user/MattRisinger), Allison Bailles (www.energyvanguard.com), Green Building Advisor (www.greenbuildingadvisor.com) and Joe Lstiburek (www.buildingscience.com). If you are interested in learning more, you can contact Ed via his website www.EKABuild.com
Bryan Barnes of Aeroseal, LLC joins us today to discuss two revolutionary technologies that greatly impact Building Performance: AeroSeal for sealing ducts from the inside out and AeroBarrier for sealing a building enclosure in the same manner. We hear about the science behind Aeroseal and the dramatic performance increases in comfort, energy and the health of the environment. Their smart-liquid sealant turns into an aerosol in their machine and actual finds and seals holes and gaps up to ⅝” in stated performance, yet larger holes have been sealed. If you’re an HVAC contractor, consider AeroSeal to make you customers more comfortable with far less time & labor in duct sealing in retrofit work allowing you to reach buried ducts. It’s also a time saver in new construction duct sealing, too. If you’re a builder, consider what AeroBarrier can do minimize the air changes of the envelope you are building to meet and exceed any existing or anticipated energy codes. If you are interested in learning more, or becoming a dealer of these highly differentiating products, go to www.AeroSeal.com or www.AeroBarrier.com or email our guest Bryan at Bryan.Barnes@AeroSeal.com
In this episode Bill chats with Ted Kidd and Nate Adams, two people who share an extreme passion for making better home performance the norm and not the exception. Our conversation gets tough on state energy programs, utility-based programs as well as BPI where we develop out the pros and cons. You can learn more about their aspirations and get some great tools and free resources by visiting www.NateTheHouseWhisperer.com You can reach Ted through Nate by emailing at Nate@EnergySmartOhio.com or calling Nate at +1-330-524-6495. They have written a easy reading, attractively produced, comprehensive book which you can find by searching for “The Home Comfort Book”.
In today’s episode, Terje Gronas tells us about his 2-year struggle to get the healthy, comfortable and energy efficient home he wanted for his family. He discusses the heavy study and personal interventions he had to make to get what he wanted and paid a premium for. “T” talks about the big picture for contractors and techs: the air in a home can greatly affect you're families health and even, perhaps, health care costs overall. As more and more technicians take pride and care in their work, Terje believes you can have a net positive impact on families and in a cumulative sense, society. He has built a Facebook page to share his journey; search for “Energy Star Homes, The Horrors”
On today’s show, Bill welcomes Matt Rivers from Onset Computer, manufacturer of the world famous line of Hobo Data Loggers. Matt describes their three main markets: Indoor, Outdoor (Weather) and Water Quality. We hear of the long list of parameters that can be logged that allow technicians, engineers and researchers to collect meaningful time stamped data to do better work. Also discussed is the positive impact of BlueTooth connections, cloud-based data services as well as cellular and gateways for remote, real time monitoring. With loggers starting at under $50, everyone has a chance at improving their game with data. More info at www.OnSetComp.com or to purchase www.TruTechTools.com/Hobo
Today we learn about how Amanda Hatherly has morphed the traditional approaches of technical training into something much more interactive and interesting. Over the last 8 years she helped to develop the Energy Smart Academy at the Santa Fe (New Mexico) Community College. She described some really cool online tools that help people understand the invisible and confusing aspects of heat and moisture flow in a building. Check them out for free at www.SimBuilding.info You can connect with Amanda by filling out the contact form at www.EnergySmartAcademy.info or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org Learn more about the accrediting body for her program at IREC at https://irecusa.org/
Bryan Orr and Bill Spohn spent 3 busy days learning, listening and absorbing the vibe at the world’s largest HVACR trade show, the AHR Expo which took place in Chicago at the end of January 2018. Come walk the auditory aisles with these two friendly nerds and see where the market is headed as a whole and with specific products.
On this episode, Bill Spohn welcomes Bethany Profaizer and Amy Beley from Pearl Certification (www.PearlCertification.com). Pearl has created a unique and very cost effective, third party certification for the major “invisible” elements of a home: building shell (or envelope), HVAC/mechanical systems, energy baseload, home management and photovoltaic (PV) solar. Contractors actively working in any of these are disciplines are eligible to apply. Now active in 6 states and the District of Columbia, Pearl is partnering with new contractors and real estate professionals from across the country every day. Unlike other programs, there is no pre-qualification necessary for the home. Pearl has worked hard to create a system that integrates with contractor’s sales and work systems, while providing a tangible record of the value for the home owner and real estate world. If you’re a contractor who wants to get a lasting record (it stays with the property) that recognizes your good work, contact Pearl. Your customers will like the fact that they can get documented credit for your work when they go to sell. A third-party study found Pearl Certified Homes are getting 2-10% better prices to comparable non-certified homes. To learn more about becoming a Pearl Partner, contact Bethany at Bethany@PearlCertification.com
Joe has worked for for CLEAResult (www.CLEAResult.com ) for over 10 years. His company is a fast growing, highly focused implementer of utility-based energy savings programs. Joe discusses the ins and outs of building an energy savings program for a utility, especially those aspects that involve HVAC and building performance contractors. Joe mentions the Home Performance Coalition’s conferences as a great place to learn and network (www.homeperformance.org/conferences/). He also discusses inspirational training he received from John Tooley (www.linkedin.com/in/john-tooley-37a89210/ ) and the Florida Solar Energy Center (www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/). Joe also notes the related aspects of the RESNET organization and conference (www.RESNET.us). And here’s a link to a photo of the tree house that Joe built around a centuries old tree in his yard : www.bit.ly/Joe-TreeHouse Here is a link to more photos from his TreeHouse project: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1fbnTeci0zaEN5oL1A0-zOGtwbhywoq6o?usp=sharing
Today we talk with Marko Bruinsma, President of Testo, inc. Marko gives us an overview of how his background from destructive testing in labs, to work with rockets and propellants to repping instrumentation shaped his career and lead to his current leadership role with testo. We also learn about the history of testo, the worldwide scope of the organization and the breadth of product lines – some lines that all listeners may not be aware of. Some handy links from the conversation: Email testo at email@example.com OR call them at 1-800-227-0729 (US and Canada) Visit their website at www.testo.com Review their US calibration lab at: www.bit.ly/testo-cal AHRI Standard 1260 for combustion analyzers: www.bit.ly/AHRI-1260 Stop by and meet Marko in person at the testo booth, # 7365, at the AHR expo in Chicago in January 2018: www.ahrexpo.com/
Today Bill speaks with JWest, a building performance practitioner and educator. J can be reached at JWest@hph2tc.com (his consulting business) or at JWest@CEDAnet.org (the community action agency in Chicago that he works for as Training Director.) We learn about The House at Cornell Tech Center on Roosevelt Island near NY City, which is the tallest and largest residential Passive House high-rise in the world. J discusses the HabitatX Conference as something listeners should investigate (www.HabitatX.com) He also discussed Passive House Concepts: you can learn more at http://www.phius.org/home-page or http://naphnetwork.org/
Today Bill speaks with Gary Reecher, a dedicated HVAC/R technician from day one. Gary discusses how his background in the US Air Force as an Environmental Systems Technician helped shaped his interest and approach to HVAC/R. Gary is very active in the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (www.RSES.org) and encourages listeners to look at attending a local, regional or national meeting, subscribing to the journal or looking at the excellent training books and webinars that they produce. Gary discussed the industry shortage of technicians and installers, and more importantly instructors. He encourages listeners to get involved if able and interested. Contact your local tech school and consider joining the advisory board, if nothing else. Gary is also involved with Skills USA (www.skillsusa.org ) which is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Gary’s favorite online group is the www.HVACRSchool.com, their daily tech tips and their associated FaceBook page. Gary also supports the work of the Council of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Educators (www.carehvac.org). Gary continues to help the industry in ways small even though he is well past retirement.
Today Bill speaks with Griffin Hagle, Weatherization Manager of the North Slope Borough in Barrow (Utqiagvik), Alaska. Griffin discusses what lead him to live and work above the arctic circle, as well as some of the challenges and rewards in doing so. In the show Griffin mentions the HabitatX Conference (www.HabitatX.com) and an article on the unhealthy air in rural Alaska homes, featuring the work of Griffin’s friend and collaborator, AJ Salkoski, who works with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/rural-alaska/2017/08/06/unhealthy-air-in-rural-alaska-homes-targeted-in-tribal-program/
Today’s guest is Larry Zarker, CEO of BPI, the Building Performance Institute. BPI is the nation’s premier organization for certification and standards-setting for home performance professionals. You will find them on the web at www.BPI.org which is also the site for building performance professionals. The BPI standards for home performance work can be found at www.bpi.org/standards. There is a separate site for homeowners at www.bpihomeowner.org with a blog for consumers found here: http://www.bpihomeowner.org/blog Everyone is welcomed to take the home quiz to see what savings building performance is available. Just type in your US street address! www.bpihomeowner.org/take-home-quiz We discussed the consumer trend towards an interest in Healthy Homes and noted the new BPI Healthy Home Evaluator Credentials (www.bpi.org/certified-professionals/healthy-home-evaluator) as well as the new organization support them called The Healthy Home Environment Association (www.myhhea.org ) Larry noted the key conferences to attend are those from the multifaceted Home Performance Coalition: www.homeperformance.org/ including the main conference coming up in April 2108 in Philadelphia, for info on that go here: www.homeperformance.org/conferences/HPC18
Today we interviewed Steve Baden the founder and present day executive director of RESNET: The Residential Energy Services Network. There are now 2 million US homes that are energy rated from Alaska to Puerto Rico. Listen to Steve discuss his background and motivations for starting RESNET, a home energy rating system that benefits consumers and builders. There is also good potential for enterprising HVAC Contractors who might add home energy rating on to their business. Links to topics discussed in the episode: RESNET’s consumer facing website: www.RESNET.us RESNET’s website for Professionals: www.resnet.us/professional Info on RESNET’s annual conference, coming up in Orlando Feb 26-28, 2018: www.conference.resnet.us/ (Bill Spohn will be presenting on 3 topics at this event.) Link to the RESNET Standards mentioned in the podcast: www.resnet.us/professional/standards The ANSI/ Air Conditioning Contractors of American (ACCA), HVAC Quality installation standard, QI-5 You‘ll find several standards at this link: www.acca.org/standards/quality NREL: The National Renewable Energy Lab: www.nrel.gov/
It takes more than a good HVAC system to deliver comfort. In this episode of the Building HVAC Science podcast, Bill Spohn speaks with Robert Bean about the science of true human comfort. Some of his concepts are brutally logical and may cause you to rethink your approach to selling or delivering comfort. Find out what he calls “the pet rock” of construction. Robert is a seasoned technologist, researcher and construction professional whose mantra is “Design for People; Good Buildings Will Follow.” Listen to his perspectives on code grade construction versus construction that delivers full environmental comfort. He states that a key element is to learn the language of comfort before exploring too far. Robert will dialog with you for free via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertbeanret/. For LOADS of resources and to inquire about his consultant services, reach him at www.healthyheating.com/ Other resources referred to: His 5-page article covering key points of his concepts: https://view.imirus.com/1166/document/12309/page/8 ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2017 and User Manual, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, www.ASHRAE.org ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2016 Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings, http://www.ashrae.org/ ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 90.2-2007 -- Energy Efficient Design of Low-Rise Residential Buildings, http://www.ashrae.org/ CBE Comfort Tool, Center for the Built Environment: http://comfort.cbe.berkeley.edu/ Cardinal Glass Tool: http://www.cardinalcorp.com/technology/applications/energy-calculator/ Positive Energy, leaders in the application of human factored building science™, https://positiveenergy.pro/ EnergyDocs, a leading Home Performance Company, http://energydocs.net/ Matt Risinger, Risinger Fine Home Building, https://www.youtube.com/user/MattRisinger, http://mattrisinger.com/
In this episode Bill introduces the podcast and what it is all about by dropping some huge knowledge bombs about building science for HVAC professionals. HVAC overview book mentioned: HVAC 1.0 Available for purchase at TruTechTools https://www.trutechtools.com/HVAC1 Get $5 off using coupon code “bookme” ACCA QI5: Quality HVAC Installation Specification for Residential and Commercial HVAC Applications Available free at http://bit.ly/ACCA-QI5 AHRI 1260 Standard for Performance Rating of Portable Flue Gas Combustion Analyzers Available free at http://bit.ly/AHRI-1260