Blower door test

The Green Star Points You Should Go For

Ask any green building expert to list the most important aspects of energy-efficient building, and near the top of the list will be air sealing. Maybe this is not news to you.

Maybe you already know that air sealing can be more cost-effective and long-lasting than solar panels, LEDs, or fancy mechanical systems. Maybe you already know that one of the major reasons a project might fail to live up to its energy efficiency goals is that it is more leaky than anyone hoped or assumed. And maybe you know that one of the best ways to ensure an airtight building is to test it. Obviously air sealing a building and testing it to verify is a bedrock principle of green building.

Now name one of the least-awarded points for the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star program. In the two years since they were introduced, 211 total Innovation Challenge points were awarded to 84 Green Star projects but only ONE point was for Building Air Tightness. Air sealing has obvious energy, environmental, and comfort benefits, and projects can get a Green Star point for just for testing the air tightness of your building. And if you achieve an airtight building, you can get another point. So why are so few projects pursuing these points?

Maybe it’s because testing here in Australia is still pretty new. You might have some of the following questions:

  • How much does an air tightness test cost?
  • How much can a project save by air sealing?
  • What’s a typical result for a project like mine?
  • Should I use the linear regression of a multi-point depressurization test with an orifice blower door or should I commandeer the AHU’s variable-speed fans to pressurize the envelope instead?
  • What in the world is a Pascal?

Sean Maxwell from the Air Infiltration and Ventilation Association of Australia will be conducting a webinar through the Green Building Council of Australia on March 8. Follow this link to learn more and to register. Join us for a discussion about building air tightness testing and how the next project you’re involved in can benefit from it.