Q: How do you minimize air leakage in homes?

A: Strategically.

In 2008, we studied how to build homes better at the Probuild University in Boulder, Colorado. The course work focused on how to get homes to perform better.

Building scientists study how homes perform. Here is where air leaks in homes: Doors account for 1%, pipe and wire penetrations 3%, electrical outlets 13%, window framing 11%, ceiling to wall 27% and wall to first floor 45%.

Once we understood where and how air leaks in homes then we found ways to minimize air leakage in each area. It is very simple to attack air loss around doors, wire penetrations, and outlets. It can be as simple as using a spray foam in a can. It takes desire and detail to make sure it is done properly every time.

Minimizing air leakage at the base and top plate of framed walls accounts for about 72% of a home’s air loss. Techniques to minimize air infiltration took some time and money. We have found the right recipe. The results are outstanding. It is hard to believe that we had built the way we did for so long.

We use Earth Advantage home certifiers to inspect and test each home we build for air leakage. A blower door test is performed on every home we build. Think of it as pressurizing your home and looking for air leaks. We cannot proceed with construction until our homes pass this test.

You can contact Clark PUD (electric homes) or Energy Trust of Oregon (gas homes) for energy audits that will help you determine where your home leaks. They will also help you with identifying vendors and subcontractors that can help you seal your home properly.

Remember, think strategically. Put your money where it counts.

Next week we will show you how we are minimizing air leakage in our homes.

Build well and enjoy life.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!