Air Pressure Testing

Four recent Blower Door Test Results on one construction site have given us three of the best air tightness results we have ever recorded.

Outside of house at The Courtyard, Adamstown    Setting up the Airtightness Test  

On the 20th of May 2013 Evolved Energy Solutions provided four air tightness tests on four different house types at "The Courtyard" Adamstown Square, Co Dublin show houses. These tests were carried out on behalf of the development company Castlethorn Construction. The four show houses tested on the day were a varied layout of three bed semi detached and terrace units Type T1, Type T2, Type T4 and Type T8.

The project was a major success for the main building contractors Castlethorn Construction who achieved an infiltration readings of   0.57, 0.90, 0.79 and 1.2 m3/hr/m2,  an average result more than three times better than  the specified 3 m3/hr/m2.

This is one housing project that the developers should be very proud of being involved with as the workmanship was exemplary throughout all areas, the heating system controls were the latest wireless Climote system coupled with Solar hot water heating and complete Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation system. It was great to see the highest of standards being achieved on a development of this size

Full Mechanical Heat Recovery Unit  Climate Unit

Blower Door Testing of a Self Build Project in Donabate Co. Dublin

Blower Door Rig  Thermal Image of Blower Rig  

On the 16/02/2013 Evolved Energy Solutions carried out a combined Blower Door Test and Thermal imaging survey of a large self build house in Donabate Co. Dublin measuring some 200m2 in floor area. Our testing and quality control survey was provided on behalf of D&S Higgins Building Contractors. The project was a complete success for the main building contractors who achieved an infiltration reading in the region of  2.5 m3/hr/m2, almost twice the specified 5 m3/hr/m2. The result was achieved using a combination of DAFA Air Tightness products, quality control testing and good workmanship. The owner of the property was delighted with the result and the report detail we provided. 

Who needs an Air Tightness Test Certificate?

From the 1st of July 2008 all new single dwellings will require an air pressure test. The aim of this new building regulation is to measure the airflow within a building and identify areas that may lead to unacceptable heat loss.

Since January 2011 TGDL states the following

Where an air permeability value better than the backstop value of 7 m3/hr/m2 at 50 Pascals is claimed for use in DEAP (the Building Energy Rating software calculation), a test should be performed on each dwelling claiming that value.

For small developments comprising no more than three dwelling units, specific pressure testing of these dwellings would not be necessary if it can be demonstrated with air pressure test reports that, during the preceding 12 month period, a dwelling of the same dwelling type constructed by the same builder had been pressure tested according to the procedures given in this sub-section and had satisfied the criterion set in paragraph However, if the assumed air change rate in the calculation of the EPC and CPC using the DEAP methodology is less than the criterion set in paragraph, a pressure test to verify this assumed value should be carried out. The guidance given in this sub-section would apply in this situation.

What has Air tightness to do with buildings and their energy usage?

Excessive and uncontrolled air movement through flaws in a buildings fabric can lead to excessive heat loss and increased energy bills. A well constructed and mechanically ventilated building will create a comfortable living quarters with reduced energy costs compared to similar sized buildings using traditional natural ventilation methods, The only way to ensure a building is constructed and ventilated correctly is by using a Blower Door Test rig and qualified personnel to operate it.

Project for Tralee County Council in 2011

Evolved Energy Solutions were appointed as the test provision company one the countries most prestigous low energy social affordable housing projects. The main contractor Fitzgibbon Builders required a total of 36 Air Pressure Test surveys to be carried out on this 18 hosue development. There were a total of 4 house types and three seperate air tightness requirements to suit the various types of mechanical and natural ventilation types of houses being constructed.
Tralee County Council house Tralee County Council houseTralee County Council house
Each house type required a quality control inspection at first fix stage and a follow up certified test procedure carried out to EN 13829 standards.
Sealing up the Fireplace for an Air Tightness Test Extraction Fan Monitoring the test
Each house required tempoaray sealing using an array of tape and membrane which was supplied by Evolved energy solutions as part of the service to the main contractor.
Using smoke to detect small air leaks Using smoke to detect small air leaks Using smoke to detect small air leaks
Minor air infiltration points were pinpointed using a selection of smoke pencils and smoke machines where required. All these survey tools were provided by Evolved Energy Solutions as part of their service. The main contractor was given a house by house snag list, luckily on this project the earlier quality control testing ensured there were no major items of repair required.
Other devices used in our tests Other devices used in our tests Other devices used in our tests
A selection of additonal survey implements are brought to each and every survey carried out by evolved Energy solutions including a Thermal Imaging Camera.
End Result
Fitzgibbon Builders and Tralee County Council are both celebrating the good news of this projects air tightness results on the 27/10/2011. Can your development project beat these results?
The average property result complies with the Building Regulations 2008 TGD-L (Dwellings) which indicates that reasonable provision for air tightness is to achieve a pressure test result of no worse than 10M�/(h.M�)@50Pa. Current good practise for energy efficient dwellings includes achieving air tightness of 7M�/(h.M�)@50Pa and best practise is 3M�/(h.M�)@50Pa.

The 18 property averages achieved an air tightness level of between 1.5 and 2.8 ACPH@50Pa.

air pressure testing

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