Posted: Dec 6, 2012 11:32 AM by Chet Layman
Updated: Dec 6, 2012 12:12 PM
BOZEMAN - Heating and cooling costs are the largest expenses for most homeowners, but today's builders work hard to make homes energy efficient to help keep those costs down.
At a local house that is under construction, students from Gallatin College are using the latest technology to help the builder construct an energy efficient home.
The students use something they call a blower door. Its job is to create an airspace in the building to show where air may be leaking. Infrared cameras show warm areas, in red and orange, and problem areas in blue.
Rob Evans is building the house being tested.
"You look at these assemblies and when we feel them they're performing just fine from the way my senses comprehend, but when we get the infrared camera and the blower door going, we get to see deeper and more precisely and consequently build a better home," Evans said.
The test is being handled by students from Gallatin College. Nicole Berg from the college says you can think of this as their final.
"Our classes are always changing and becoming flexible so that what we're teaching in the classroom at Gallatin College is directly transferable to what they'll be doing as soon as they finish their one or two year degree," Berg said.
The test showed this home, even without doors is well insulated. This technology can also be used to see if a house is too insulated.
Jeffery Moore teaches the class.
"We also do what's known as a combustion air zone or a combustion appliance test where you can determine, based on the volume of the home and depressurizing it with the blower door, whether or not those furnaces or hot water heaters if they're natural gas, whether or not they're going to back-draft because the house is actually too tight," Moore said.
Blower door testing is becoming more common throughout the construction industry. Some contractors are doing the tests themselves. When it comes to building an energy efficient home, Rob Evans says the little cost of the test will be covered by smaller heating and cooling bills throughout the life of the home.
"When we look at the cost to operate this home, the three or four or five additional hours that the client needs to pay for here will be made up in spades over the life of the home in his energy savings and in his comfort. This house will be very, very nice to live in," Evans said.