Residential and Commercial Building Systems
Energy Audits
Note-We no longer offer energy audits. We apologize for any inconvenience. Energy Audits performed by a trained and certified auditor is the best way to determine how to improve the overall efficiency of a building or home. Energy audits pinpoint exact locations where energy is being lost saving you time and money that could potentially be wasted chasing energy losses that you cannot see. Phillip St. Clair is certified through BPI (Building Performance Institute) as a building analyst.

How it works:

Energy audits use an entire building approach to guide you in the direction necessary to reduce energy costs by using a variety of methods.

  1. On site visible inspection (inside & outside) for sustainability issues
  2. Thermal scan to detect hot and cold spots
  3. Blower door test to detect air leakage & pressure imbalances
  4. Documentation presented to owner to show how tight or how leaky structure is and what can be done to improve

Again, energy audits are an inexpensive way to discover where you are losing energy and losing money in your home and what can be done to improve the efficiency. The cost of an energy audit is $0.15 per square foot up to 5,000 sq. ft. building and $0.10 per square foot for a building larger than 5,000 sq. ft.

Blower Door Tests
Professional energy auditors use blower door tests to help determine a home's airtightness.

These are some reasons for establishing the proper building tightness:

  • Reducing energy consumption due to air leakage
  • Avoiding moisture condensation problems
  • Avoiding uncomfortable drafts caused by cold air leaking in from the outdoors
  • Making sure that the home's air quality is not too contaminated by indoor air pollution
How They Work
A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. The auditors may use a smoke pencil to detect air leaks. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of a building. Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, and an airflow manometer and hoses for measuring airflow.
Preparing for a Blower Door Test
Take the following steps to prepare your home for a blower door test:
  • Close windows and open interior doors
  • Turn down the thermostats on heaters and water heaters
  • Cover ashes in wood stoves and fireplaces with damp newspapers
  • Shut fireplace dampers, fireplace doors, and wood stove air intakes
Thermal Imaging
In order to understand thermal imaging, it is important to understand something about light. The amount of energy in a light wave is related to its wavelength: Shorter wavelengths have higher energy. Of visible light, violet has the most energy, and red has the least. Just next to the visible light spectrum is the infrared spectrum.

Infrared light can be split into three categories:

  1. Near-infrared (near-IR) - Closest to visible light, near-IR has wavelengths that range from 0.7 to 1.3 microns, or 700 billionths to 1,300 billionths of a meter.
  2. Mid-infrared (mid-IR) - Mid-IR has wavelengths ranging from 1.3 to 3 microns. Both near-IR and mid-IR are used by a variety of electronic devices, including remote controls.
  3. Thermal-infrared (thermal-IR) - Occupying the largest part of the infrared spectrum, thermal-IR has wavelengths ranging from 3 microns to over 30 microns.
  4. The key difference between thermal-IR and the other two is that thermal-IR is emitted by an object instead of reflected off it. Infrared light is emitted by an object because of what is happening at the atomic level.

    Thermal Imaging - Here's how it works:
    A special lens focuses the infrared light emitted by all of the objects in view.

    The focused light is scanned by a phased array of infrared-detector elements. The detector elements create a very detailed temperature pattern called a thermogram. It only takes about one-thirtieth of a second for the detector array to obtain the temperature information to make the thermogram. This information is obtained from several thousand points in the field of view of the detector array.

    The thermogram created by the detector elements is translated into electric impulses. The impulses are sent to a signal-processing unit, a circuit board with a dedicated chip that translates the information from the elements into data for the display.

    The signal-processing unit sends the information to the display, where it appears as various colors depending on the intensity of the infrared emission. The combination of all the impulses from all of the elements creates the image.

P.O. Box 3662, Charleston, WV 25336
(304) 661-6980