Yes, I confess, I have been a participant and witness to flawed decisions air barrier design and building enclosure improvements. It’s from these “gifts” or unwelcomed lessons that I have been able to gain knowledge of functional air barrier retrofit processes and procedures.
Sometimes, the best we can do is apologize, correct the situation, and move on.
Yes, you look like an idiot.
Yes, to the customer you may look like the most inexperienced person.
No, you are not likely to be hired again.
Humility in the face of gaining knowledge can be extremely painful. It is from these moments that we are able to grow and utilize building science principles to avoid significant building degradation and functional installation processes.
Luckily there are people willing to share the information so others do not have to make the same mistakes and frustrations. We do have to be on the edge in order to move forward. It shows us what is possible. Without these small steps forward we are stuck at idle.
Everyone has to learn each of their own lessons, but if we can help someone avoid the same mistakes, they can then learn their own lessons to share with others while avoiding costly mistakes.
This is an excerpt from some of the discovered failings from 20 years of energy audits, air barrier inspections, and pressure testing.
- Apply basic pressure flows of how high pressures flow towards low pressures in relation to condensation issues.
- Explain why liquid applied membranes need to be applied at design temperatures.
- Explain what will happen if an air and thermal is poorly defined in steel stud construction.
- Describe basics of a large building blower door test and what could happen if not prepared.
Torrance Kramer, CEM®, BECxP, BPI® BA MF, LEED® AP
Accurate-Airtight Exteriors, Madison, WI
Torrance Kramer has been passionately working to reduce energy consumption in buildings across the country throughout his career as a energy engineer and building envelope consultant. Having completed thousands of comprehensive energy audits on various buildings types, he began to see the lack of understanding in air barriers. This led to specializing in air barrier testing and he began testing building air barriers and conveying the necessity for an effective air barrier in the older building stock. Have consulted on many existing buildings leant itself well to commissioning enclousre of new construction buildings. He has tested air barrier tighness on most building types; from military to municipal to multifamily. For the last 6 years he has operated Accurate-Airtight Exteriors which tests, repairs, and consults on quality building air and thermal barriers. The outcome is many more building owners being able to say they have a comfortably tight and energy efficient building.