13

Jan

Don’t Balk at Caulk

Written By: John Jeppesen

Homeowners and property managers are feeling the pinch in their wallets as the skyrocketing energy costs go up with no end in sight. Something as simple as sealing ductwork joints can really make a difference. According to the U.S. EPA, the average duct system loses around 20% to 30% of its air to holes and leaks in the ductwork. You could be blowing out big money if your ductwork is in your crawlspace, attic, or other unconditioned areas.

We found this on the Contracting Business website about duct sealing:

“One of the first places to start is to air seal around all duct shafts and flues installed through ceilings, walls, and flooring to keep conditioned air from leaking into unconditioned space.

Use silicone caulk air seal around duct boots. You can also use canned foam, or rigid air barrier material cut to fit and caulked or foamed in place around the duct shafts. It’s important to caulk the HVAC boot to the sheetrock before the HVAC trim gets installed. Believe it or not, this simple little joint is controversial and has a huge impact on the testing performance of the duct.

There are a lot of joints in this fabricated fitting as it goes into the building enclosure. The return side of the duct system gets really fun, especially if you’re using panned returns. The leakiest connections we find are where the return duct and floor joist intersect, with the top of the duct being cut out as a return pathway.”

There’s a big marketing payoff for your company if your projects meet ENERGY STAR/Zero Energy compliance.  The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home is a compelling way to recognize builders for their leadership in increasing energy efficiency, improving indoor air quality, making homes zero energy ready.

The DOE program builds upon the comprehensive building science requirements of ENERGY STAR® for Homes Version 3, along with proven Building America innovations and best practices. Other special attribute programs are incorporated to help builders reach unparalleled levels of performance with homes designed to last hundreds of years.

DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes are verified by a qualified third-party and are at least 40%-50% more energy-efficient than a typical new home. This generally corresponds to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index Score in the low- to mid-50s, depending on the size of the home and region in which it is built.

For more information and program specifics, visit: https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/guidelines-participating-doe-zero-energy-ready-home-program

Use duct tape for everything except ducts:

Sealing other HVAC components such as ductwork must also be addressed. Duct tape has been called “The Handyman’s Secret Weapon” on the PBS series “The Red Green Show,” (find it on You Tube), but it belies its name. It does a lousy job sealing ductwork joints. The same is true with foil tape. It’s because the adhesive in both doesn’t stick well to dirty or oily metal surfaces. Even if they did, the adhesive gets brittle from heating and cooling cycles and delaminates.

David Richardson wrote a long article on the Contracting business website.

Richardson begins by saying: “As a general rule all ducts leak, some worse than others. The trick is to know where the different leaks are located and deal with them before they’re an issue… Installation crews do a great job with the fabrication and installation of a duct system but many times don’t fully understand the importance of a properly sealed duct system. It seems many installers just paint the ducts in an effort to please code officials instead of realizing how beneficial properly sealed ducts are. We oftentimes see ducts with only three sides sealed and mastic applied to the wrap instead of to the duct itself just to appease code requirements.”

Richardson gets more specific: ”Caulking is a much better and long-lasting solution. A high-quality silicone caulk with a UL 181 rating. UL 181 is the standard by which all duct sealants are rated. The main parts of UL 181 that apply to field fabricated ducts include UL 181A and UL 181B. One sealant that has been used by the HVAC industry for years is the one that has proven to be the most unreliable; I’m talking of course about duct tape.” So, when it comes to HVAC ductwork it is anything but a “secret weapon.”

Let’s not overlook existing homes or buildings. Although more skilled homeowners /property managers can fix some leaks, it’s best left to the professionals to get the job done right the first time because some leaks are hard to find or reach, or they lack the diagnostic tools and techniques.

They’re likely to call if:

  • They have high utility bills
  • Their home is dusty
  • Uneven heating or cooling in a room

Comfort is the homeowner’s bottom line according to the Comfort Masters website. They offer this advice: “To focus on only one variable as being more important than any of the others is making a lot of assumptions. When proper duct sealing is combined with proper design and insulation, and airflow delivery that’s been tested and verified, you have an HVAC system that will provide total comfort.” What’s more, they can save big money on their utility bills.

Performance Point strongly supports energy efficiency and its impact on the environment, but we are just as passionate about helping our customers build comfortable homes.  Call us before you start your next project and let us show you how we can help!

 

23

Dec

Merry Christmas from Performance Point!  

Written By: Athena Seay

A well-known hymn….” Westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light” talks about being guided by a certain light.  Our customers are our north star here at Performance Point and delivering outstanding customer service is what guides us. During this season we reflect on what is truly important both professionally and personally. 

Sam Galphin, President of Performance Point shares ….”What is truly important for Performance Point is that we are doing an exceptional job servicing our customers.  My desire is for our customers to look back on their year and recognize that we were a big part of their success.  When they succeed we succeed!”  

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the supply chain for home builders, and that is especially highlighted during this time of year. With material shortages and production disruptions, builders are stressed.  Performance Point strives extra hard to be a partner with our builders, to help them overcome this lack of capacity.  “We may feel a little stretched right now to get to all of the scheduled homes, but we do, while other companies are falling far behind,” says Sam.

Personally, during this time of year, Sam focuses on the importance of family time and to reflect on another year gone by.  “We try to live a financially and environmentally friendly lifestyle, values that glorify Christ”.   

Performance Point also is intentional about giving back to the community.  We tithe 10% of our profits to Habitat for Humanity.  We also support Dream On 3, a charity that provides assistance to children that are sick in the hospital but can not have visitors because of Covid.

Professionally, Sam is thankful for the success of Performance Point!  For example, the jobs completed this week compared to the same week in 2018 have increased over 230%!

Also, Sam is grateful for the employees and staff that work at Performance Point.  “They are people that I enjoy and look forward to seeing and interacting with every day.” 

And still proceeding, Performance Point is exploring ways to leverage technology to service our customers even more. “We’re going to have a year focusing on expanding our capacity to service our customers in new ways.  I look forward to growing in the markets in which we currently participate by providing additional services to our customers.”

08

Dec

What Makes Us Different? A Customer’s Perspective…

Written By: Athena Seay

A lot of factors go into building a home; the site, the size, the structure, and the specifications.  Making a home that is extraordinary, built to the highest standards, is what you can find with Linnane Homes.  

Linnane Homes, LLC has been in the home building business since 1989 in the Charlotte area.  With homes ranging from $800,000 to $3 million, Linnane’s customers expect exceptional built houses for living. These homes are not only beautiful on the outside, but are comfortable and above the standards of the average home. For example, Linnane homes are 35% more energy efficient than the standard home. They are so confident in their homes that they provide a 10  year structural, insured, and transferable warranty.

Performance Point helps this custom builder do just that…by providing the services that make homes a lasting investment. Billy Linnane, the President of Linnane Homes was impressed with the knowledge and insightfulness of Sam Galphin, the President and founder of  Performance Point, since first meeting him at an industry function in 2009. Since then, they have collaborated on close to 100 homes. 

Both Linnane and PP have the same goals: to maximize clients’ investment with quality performance homes. Performance Point consults with Linnane Homes on the following  services: 

  • Blower Door & Duct Leakage Testing 
  • HERS Ratings (Home Energy Rating System) 
  • ENERGY STAR 
  • Building Performance Reports 
  • HVAC Design  
  • Air Sealing 

This intense attention to detail requires day to day communication between the two companies. In fact, Billy says, “Performance Point’s personal attention, their schedule flexibility,  and industry knowledge has made the perfect relationship”. 

It’s this partnership that helped Linnane Homes win the best Energy Star Certified Home 2013,  2014, and 2015. Also, they have earned the highest level for client satisfaction for 5 years straight on Houzz.  

Performance Point mirrors Linnane’s winning leadership by earning NGBS Green Partner of Excellence and is the market leader for Energy Star Certified Homes. 

To be a leader in a competitive home building market, Linnane has trusted Performance Point to work seamlessly with them, from pre-construction design to finish construction inspections.  “It’s an ongoing relationship for today and tomorrow”, says Billy Linnane. 

We are ready to start a relationship with your new residential construction business!  Performance Point is in NC, SC, TN, and Richmond (VA). 

Give us a call today (704) 563-1030

01

Dec

Performance Point – The Future and What Makes Us Tick

Written By: John Jeppesen

A lot has changed since we opened our doors. We’ve grown, adding new customers and services, but those are just a few of the changes.  We’re excited about that and all the new technologies and construction techniques in the industry.

Sam Galphin looked into his crystal ball and noted: “I want to continue to grow geographically and in our scope to offer what our industry wants and needs and build the systems that allow us to provide that service effectively. I am 100% committed to helping my customers be more successful, and using those returns to provide opportunities for our people. I want to operate a business that leads by example in the area of environmental and human stewardship.”

Just as a building is only as strong as its foundation, we value integrity as our bedrock. “No one will see most of what we do or how we do it. That creates an environment ripe for cutting corners and falsifying inspection information,” says Galphin. “Many in our industry do this as part of their business practice. At least once every few weeks a homebuilder tells me he is not going to follow the code because no one enforces it or a competing rater brags about a shortcut they’ve found to beat the system. The construction industry (aka “the industry”) is kind of funny in the sense that we are here to build long-lasting structures, but tend to focus on only the shortest term gains. The industry fights against the adoption of practices that can make operating a house more affordable for the occupants and environment under the notion of affordable housing; The industry champions rebate programs that benefit utilities and raters but may actually cost the consumer more.  Commitment to fighting the shortcuts and fighting for the truth in our larger industry is what I mean by integrity in our industry. It is a distinctive of ours and our employees personally.”

We care about the environment. We want our children and grandchildren to have clean air and water in the future. One step is converting to an all-electric fleet. “The technology that allows us to get from job site to job site with minimal environmental impact has come a long way,” Galphin notes. “And we believe we are about to see a tipping point in the auto industry. A 100% electric vehicle can have a lower carbon impact than an efficient gasoline vehicle, but not in every case, it is actually quite complex. We have been running a Nissan Leaf for a while now and we are impressed with its capabilities and efficiency, but the range just isn’t enough for some people to get through the day.  The same goes for the Tesla vehicles that meet the space needs of our workers. We have found the Prius to be an outstanding vehicle in its reliability, efficiency, and range.”

While we strongly encourage Energy Star type construction, the “green” movement is a mixed bag in building construction, says Galphin. “The trend toward more energy-efficient construction falls in and out of popularity driven by, you guessed it, the consumer. As consumers demand more efficient homes builders deliver them. Right now in major markets builders can sell anything they build and the demand for new homes is huge so above-code energy efficiency is not something people have to do.  The other entity demanding more efficient construction is the government.  We do see many states adopting codes that promote efficiency, but these are hard-won battles with a lot of politics and money involved in fighting on both sides. As much as we see people complaining about energy codes they do remain some of the easiest, inexpensive, and impactful codes to adopt. There are also those builders whose values and identity are wrapped up in the quality and efficiency of their homes and they are strong right now, so that is great to see.”

Last and by no means, not the least, is the Performance Point’s soul – our culture and how it plays out.

It starts with the Performance Point culture. “We pride ourselves on providing an atmosphere where people are empowered to do their jobs,” Galphin asserts. “I view myself as working for the people who work here. I enjoy looking for ways to promote the success of those on our team. People are accountable, but they are so valued, they are not afraid to admit mistakes and areas where they need to grow. So if you came here to work you’d find a wide variety of outside interests from athletics to comics, a wide variety of experiences from a lifetime of experience in the industry to fresh out of school, a wide variety of physical characteristics shapes, sizes, and ages and a wide variety of education levels – but everyone must have integrity, humility, and the drive to be the best.”

It’s no surprise the corporate culture fuels a strong sense of corporate citizenship. We care about our neighbors, the city, and the country. “This is one of my favorite things to not talk about,” Galphin modestly says. Here are a few things from the past year as examples of Performance Points giving aside from the ways we encourage our employees to be active givers. We have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, we tithe (give 10% of our company profits), and we made hundreds of sandwiches for a local food bank and challenge others to match our contributions. We are putting together a box for a Dream On 3 kid who is stuck in a hospital without visitors because of COVID. We have donated money toward childhood cancer research and we seek to give employment opportunities to those in our community who have been passed over.  We buy everything local that we can, even though it often costs more. We provide sponsorships to a women’s conference for mothers who have lost children. Not overlooking kids, we made a significant donation for some park equipment in an underserved community.”

Even though we strive to be profitable and successful, we are holistic, more than the sum of our parts.

And if you want to get to know us better, call us at 704.563.1030.  Leave a voicemail and I’ll get right back to you.

18

Nov

The Performance Point Difference

Written By: John Jeppesen

We take great care to provide you with more than building inspection services. There are dozens In Charlotte. So what makes Performance Point different?

Quite frankly, a lot.

It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. So, let’s start at the beginning of 2008. That’s when Sam Galphin hung up his shingle, so to speak. He looks back: “At the time I started Performance Point I was working at Sealing Agents.  Sealing Agents is most known for spray foam, below-grade waterproofing, and material spreading. I was running the Sealing Agents Building Performance division at the time. When the housing bubble bust impact reached Charlotte in 2007 and 2008 and the owner of Sealing Agents asked me to trim my team down to save costs. I understood where he was coming from They had to make cuts everywhere. I thought this would harm the fledgling building performance division so I suggested Sealing Agents consider allowing me to buy them out of that part of the business. I went to some banks, found one that was dumb enough to lend me the money, and off I went. I had what felt like a huge loan, a new baby on the way, an economic crash in the news, it was a scary time for me.”

It was a prime example of risk versus reward. The risk has paid huge dividends. “In 2008 I thought we’d have some home builder customers,” Galphin notes “But the majority of our work would be focused on the residential side. That means I thought we’d be working directly with homeowners on their efficiency, comfort, and IAQ problems. While that is a huge market, I found that even people with big problems didn’t want to spend what it takes to fix the problems. It is tough to convince someone to spend $5K to air seal their attic and ducts for what could be a minimal utility bill reduction. We did have a lot of traction with people who had comfort problems and IAQ issues, but because we are not an HVAC company, that line of work never generated a lot of revenue for the amount of work we had to put into selling and performing it. We actually used to do a fair number of skylights and sun tunnels for new construction and existing homes alike. That work on the roofs of existing homes led us into a brief solar career.  We decided to exit solar and all the existing home work a couple of years later as new construction work was growing again.

Performance Point has evolved since then. “Now we focus on new construction inspections and energy modeling and try to avoid existing home projects,” says Galphin. “We work directly with single and multi-family home builders on code compliance, quality inspections, safety inspections, energy ratings, air sealing, above code programs (ENERGY STAR and Green), and rebate programs.” That said, “There are a lot of things that have not changed, for example, we work for the same people we did then,” Galphin said and added, “plus a lot more and in a lot more areas.”

Every company has its share of pivotal moments. Performance Point is no exception. Galphin notes: “Yes, thousands. There are those moments in a meeting, an interview, or an idea in the middle of the night; that you look back and realize that moment was a turning point to being what you are now. I call that a turning point. To me a key moment isn’t necessarily the point where things changed, it is all those moments that led up to the turning point. A key moment is when you decide to read a leadership book instead of watch TV, pray and seek guidance rather than sleep in, actually pay attention to someone rather than nodding along while you are mentally checked out.  To me, those are the key moments because they are the moments that a turning point is built on.  That said, I know what you are asking and I have.  I would say we have pivotal moments when we’ve made key hires or promotions, expanded services, and with our tech.”

Several years ago, noted business leader Naryana Murthy famously said that “Our assets walk out of the door each evening. We have to make sure that they come back the next morning.”

Sam Galphin couldn’t agree more: “In my opinion, every hire is pivotal. Our people are what make us what we are – we are our people.  Any person we hire shapes us for accelerating toward that next turning point or avoiding it.” +We have been expanding our services and territories over the last two years in a way that we have not done in the previous 10.  The decisions required to move in that direction were absolutely pivotal and the result of many preceding key moments.”

That’s just the half of it says Galphin: “There have been several pivotal moments in our tech story that have propelled us forward.  I think we are on the precipice of another one right now that involves getting our information where it needs to be when it needs to be there.”

Stay tuned. Learn where we’re going in Part Two of our story.

02

Nov

Pushing the Envelope

Written By:  Moment Palmer

Learn about the importance — and benefits — of Performance Point’s air sealing services, effective techniques, and superior products

WHAT IS AIR SEALING AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

In this context, air leakage is the unwanted infiltration and exfiltration of air through a home’s envelope. Roughly stated, the envelope is what separates indoors and outdoors. Knowing this you can now work to pinpoint the areas of a home where leakage can happen. From the foundation to the roof every crack and crevice can be a candidate for air leakage (Think: vents, ducts, exhaust and furnace fans, crawlspaces, attics, and small openings around/between doors and windows).

Air sealing is important because a leaky or drafty house will cost more to operate, be less comfortable, and may have worse indoor air quality than a well-sealed house.  Drafty homes often have higher indoor humidity in the summertime and lower humidity in the wintertime which leads to other problems resulting from expanding and contracting wood like cracks in wood trim, cupping/crowning hardwoods, and creaky floors.

Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions for reducing air leakage. Air sealing is one major way builders deal with air leakage. Spray foam insulation, Zip Systems, SIPs, AAC block, and ICFs are other solutions but it may be outside the cost constraints or other goals of the project. With the help and expertise of the professionals at Performance Point and our access to industry-leading technology, your project will be more air-tight resulting in the most comfortable and cost-efficient home to build and live in.

“Our methods and purpose are far more valuable to a home’s performance and the occupant’s comfort than a typical insulation contractor’s attempt,” Jeremy Price, Performance Point’s Regional Field Manager explains. “A contractor, such as Performance Point, with our scientific knowledge and experience of where, how, and why, will provide an air seal that is the most effective, most attractive, and with the least amount of waste.”

 

FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF AIR SEALING SERVICES

Energy contractors generally start by performing an energy inspection to assess problem areas that need to be addressed. Most home builders have a criterion to meet (that is usually dictated by state and local building codes) regarding the amount of air leakage that is permitted.

The general consensus is that the tighter the home is, the more energy-efficient and comfortable it will be. With a well air sealed home, it is important to have a dependable ventilation system to bring in fresh air for the occupants. ACH is how we scale airtightness. We consider a home “well air sealed” under 4 ACH. A good air sealing job will get you in the 4 ACH range, better in the 3 ACH range, while best is below 2 ACH.  Simply put, ACH is the number of times all the air in the house is exchanged while running the blower door at 50 Pascals. Below 2 ACH is possible with fiberglass insulation and advanced methods of air sealing, but it is uncommon to achieve this due to the complexity of trade timing and the many interconnected systems that interact with the air sealing systems.

Performance Point goes above the typical air seal service offered by others by assessing and focusing on the whole home.

As Jeremy explains, “When we are onsite to perform an air seal assessment for a builder, not only are we there to air seal the house to limit unwanted air infiltration, we are also able to observe and inspect the framing of the structure and all of the other mechanical components. This is beneficial because the early opportunity we have to call out deficiencies in the framing or duct system to a builder prior to insulation can save everyone from trouble down the road.”

In addition to energy and cost savings, air sealing also plays a huge role in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), which is more essential than ever since we are spending a lot more time working and learning from home. “The importance of good Indoor Air Quality has risen in the mind of the American homeowner since COVID has made us acutely aware that what we breath can make us sick, and now we are breathing more air at home than ever,” says Sam Glaphin, Performance Point’s Founder and Owner. “This making us more aware of our heating and cooling energy consumption and comfort level at home, which has created a prime situation for manufacturers to come out with new products or polish up old products to fit our new awareness of IAQ and energy efficiency.”

 

PRODUCTS AND TECHNIQUES

Once an inspection is completed, Performance Point can make recommendations to address problem areas that need the most attention or even perform the air sealing service turnkey. Effective techniques and durable quality products go hand-in-hand in creating the optimal air and moisture sealing that increase a home’s energy efficiency and building performance.

“A very specific test (Blower Door Test) is used to test the home for how ‘airtight’ it is, and the results are interpreted in a metric called Air Exchanges per Hour (ACH), and depending on what that building code dictates — a passing grade could range anywhere from 3-7 air exchanges per hour — usually depends on what part of the country the home is being built in,” explains Vinny Savelli, Regional Sales Manager (for the Southeast territory) with TYTAN Professional, one of the vendor’s Performance Point partners with.

TYTAN makes a wide variety of polyurethane-based products including adhesives and air sealing foams. “There are numerous competitors out there who produce similar products, so we differentiate ourselves by providing some of the best technology, performance, and value on the market,” Savelli explains.

One of the most popular air sealing products TYTAN offers is single component aerosol polyurethane foams. These products are extremely effective as they provide a quick and easy way to seal off points where air can move through the envelope such as exterior penetrations around windows, doors, and plumbing fixtures.

Jeremy stresses that using the correct foam sealant makes all the difference during the application, and it ensures the effectiveness of one’s effort and material. “For instance, one would not do well to choose draft-stopping foam to seal windows, as this product expands significantly, and it may interfere with raising and lowering a window sash smoothly.” And while these foams are extremely effective, the application process is also just as important.

One of the premier products TYTAN has developed is an air sealing system called the TYTAN UP! System. TYTAN UP! bundles air sealing products into a package for home builders or building performance contractors. Several benefits of using the TYTAN Up! family of products include having the right product for the specific air sealing need,  easier application than competitors’ products (which saves time and labor), and reducing overall home air leakage and blower door test results.

The products the TYTAN UP! System consists of include:

  • Tytan Window/Door Pro – Polyurethane air sealing foam with low expansion properties that will not bend windows/doors. It provides a better seal than traditional fiberglass insulation, is UL Certified, and exceeds AAMA 812 requirements.
  • Tytan Fireblock Extreme Pro – Polyurethane foam with low expansion properties that adheres to most common construction materials and classified as a Type V Residential Fireblock.
  • Tytan Gasket Foam – This polyurethane foam is used for top/bottom plate sealing made with a formula that cures with rebound and memory — helping create a better seal against drywall to help prevent air leakage. It does not require a special dispenser gun compared with competitors who also use water/latex-based foams.

 

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED

Providing exceptional customer service and quality products is a cornerstone for any business, but exceeding expectations is the foundation of Performance Point’s philosophy.

“Creating and sustaining relationships between material suppliers and applicators is something to find value in,” Jeremy emphasizes. “Sure, it can easily be discounted as company A sells product B to installer C, but it doesn’t need to be that cut-and-dry. I think it takes an appropriate amount of communication between the two parties to make sure the materials being supplied are correct and that the materials supplied are being applied and installed correctly.”

Sam points out that, “Manufacturers are looking to installers and experts like Performance Point to help direct their efforts to fit techniques that are effective for the homeowner and cost-effective for the builder. Partnering with manufacturers helps with their product development because as inspectors we see what’s missing and as installers, we know what is possible to implement. It’s great when a product comes together with a need and we can see the effectiveness of it.”

Working with material developers, manufacturers, and trusted suppliers such as TYTAN, who care immensely about their products’ effectiveness, helps us provide top-of-the-line air seal services and procedures. Plus, we are able to demonstrate how their products are applied and how they actually work in the hands of the installer, which speaks volumes to each of our commitments to perfection and success. This close relationship to builder customers and manufacturers makes Performance Point a great choice for air sealing your project. Give Performance Point a call or email us to get a bid for air sealing on your next project.

 

 

 

 

Websites/Online resources:

https://www.theperformancepoint.com/services/air-sealing

https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/seal_insulate

https://tytan.com/

https://www.thespruce.com/air-seal-home-4174533

https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/air-sealing-your-home

26

Aug

Architects and Interior Designers Warming to Mini Splits

Written By: John Jeppesen

Performance Point has long supported energy conservation and green technologies.
We are always looking for ways to support those initiatives. In fact, we are in the
process of replacing our service vehicles with electric-powered vehicles as existing vans
and escapes age out. We see it as our contribution to clean air.

That said, we featured mini-splits as one technology that can make a difference in our
last blog post. There is a growing trend in that direction, but there’s a sticking point.
Architects and interior don’t like the aesthetics of an air handler on a wall that affects the
“look” of their designs.

The good news is that even those skeptics are coming around and have created ways to
minimize or conceal air handlers in a room.

We talked to Justin Fulford at Fulford HVAC (www.fulfordhvac.com) again. He has
noticed an uptick in architect and interior designer acceptance but there’s still room for
growth. “We’ve talked to architects and interior designers but we also talk to contractors.
If you believe in the product, we’re the ones that bring it to the table as options. Some
people are acceptable to the new technology while others are still on the old
bandwagon and don’t like change and with some houses, there is no other option other
than mini-splits. A lot of people are acceptable to the new technology. I’ve got a
homeowner right now with a house that was built in the mid-sixties and on one floor
there’s no way to run ductwork to it. I proposed mini splits and the builder is old school
minded and is afraid that it might not work, but it will work and he keeps saying: ‘gotta
find a way, gotta find a way to use ductwork.’” Even so, Fulford will continue to propose
this technology to his customers.

Next, we did some digging. We found ideas on how to squeeze air conditioning in
century-old brownstones. This “how-to” provides ideas on ways to incorporate mini splits
in a renovation. Note: you might have to cut and paste this link into your browser.

https://www.brownstoner.com/interiors-renovation/air-conditioning-renovation-ideas-historic-architecture-mini-splits-interior-design/

Jodi Laumer-Giddens is the President of LG Designs, an Atlanta architectural firm, posted a “confession on homeenergysaver.com:

“GUILTY! Once upon a time, I would have scoffed at mechanical engineers and contractors if they’d ask me, as the design architect, for a bigger room to put the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) equipment in.

“Are you crazy? And give up valuable storage space???”

They might have also asked me for dropped soffits and vertical chases to run the ductwork through. To which I would reply:

“What?!?! That’s not consistent with my innovative and beautiful design! The audacity!!!”

OK, so maybe I wasn’t quite THAT oblivious and arrogant, but I was definitely not as aware of the importance of the HVAC systems and integrating them into the design of a home as I am today.

My, how the tables have turned.

I’m still an architect and I’m still designing homes, but I’m also designing, specifying, and integrating the HVAC Systems for those homes. I also design them for homes that other architects or designers have done. Sometimes it’s the architect that hires me, and other times it’s the HVAC contractor or the home’s builder.

No matter who it is, most of the time it’s too late to influence the architecture and interior design to smoothly integrate the equipment and ductwork because the house is already framed up. The HVAC system is typically one of the last things to be installed in a home, just before insulation, drywall, and finishes. Oddly, it’s also one of the last things to be designed, and it’s done on the fly. Too often the architecture and interior design did NOT account for the integration of a mechanical system and its ductwork, so installation becomes a challenge.”

More details follow. You might have to cut and paste this into your browser:

http://homeenergysaver.ning.com/profiles/blogs/why-don-t-architects-and-interior-designers-care-about-hvac-syste

We also found an interior design perspective on mini-splits:

“Ductless mini-splits are the in-thing these days because of their reduced electricity bills and a wider cooling coverage. Maybe, mini-splits were not around when your house was constructed, hence it was not included in your design. But these units are great for reducing electricity bills and cools a wider area.

Build a false beam to surround the unit and you won’t notice the appliance. Combine this with sunken lighting or mount it above the window to make your space look great without sacrificing functionality.

Great spots for mini splits are above the doorway, bookshelves, cabinets, or bed. Housing this in an open shelf integrated into the wall creates a visual interest that harmonizes with your interior design.

Keep the design simple and cheap by matching the color of the wall with the unit. Install a decorative element for a smart and chic accent to enhance the existing decoration.”

https://www.urdesignmag.com/architecture/2019/08/08/why-is-it-important-to-include-your-ac-design-in-your-interior-plan/

So there you have it. Hopefully, this will help architects and interior designers get over the resistance to mini-split systems. They are creative people by nature and all it takes is a bit of creativity to integrate mini-splits into their repertoire.

11

Dec

Tips for January 2019 Energy Code Changes

Written By:  Lilly Liang

On January 1st, 2019 NC Energy Code changes will go into effect. The new year is only a few weeks away so it is important to start making changes across the board, now. We noticed a few builders currently struggle to pass code and wanted to make sure everyone is able to pass with the changes impacting North Carolina.  These are key reminders that can impact your duct blaster and blower door results.

Biggest Change in the NC Energy Code are the Duct Leakage Requirements:

  • The Total AND leakage to outside is current required to be 6%. As of Jan 1st, total will need to be 5% AND leakage to outside will need to be 4%.

The energy code changes can be difficult for builders because the code requirements are becoming more stringent. Your leakage to outside is very important to understanding if your conditioned space is leaking to unconditioned space. No one wants to condition the outdoors! That’s just asking for an increase in energy costs for the homeowner. If you are currently struggling to pass code, the changes are only going to make it more difficult. Our building science experts are great at knowing what areas will provide a big impact in lowering those numbers.

We are here to help you. Performance Point team is sharing our TOP 3-4 tips for meeting duct leakage requirements under the new 2018 NC Energy Code in the new year. With the help of ENERGY STAR, we have displayed CORRECT (left) and INCORRECT (right) photos to show how to increase your chances in meeting the new Duct Leakage Requirements.

Tips and Tricks:

Caulk or seal the duct boots to sheetrock or subfloor

Mastic connections in ductwork

Seal any penetrations/seams in the air handler setup with mastic and tape or silicone – like drain lines, linesets, connection points of furnace to evaporative coil, etc.

Overall, the photos display proper practice and implementing our tips will increase your chances in meeting the new Duct Leakage Requirements under the 2018 NC Energy Code. They are intended to assist builders in understanding the requirements of the NC Energy Code. With our help, each builder will have higher chances of getting a good number on their duct blaster and blower door test. Please contact us if you have more questions about the Energy Code changes at info@theperformancepoint.com

11

Oct

Boat Day

Written By:  Lilly Liang

Performance Point, a full-service energy efficiency contractor in the Carolinas, has been an industry leader for 10 years now. In the past couple of years, we’ve had tremendous growth with clients and employees.

Today, we have over 30 employees including field and office staff. We will likely hire more field raters early next year as we continue to grow.  We know it’s important to provide a sense of community within our team – both in the field and the office. For a team bonding event, Susie Redfearn planned our 3rd annual Boat Day . As the Single-Family Account Rep, I was able to join a boat day and get insight on what our team members thought.

Team events are important especially since our field inspectors do not see each other every day. “That’s why getting all of our team members together is so vitally important to the strength of our company. The administration team at Performance Point prides itself on its efforts to provide team building activities for its staff,” says Jeremy Price, Charlotte Regional Manager.

Jeremy has been on the team for over 5 years and offered his boat for our team outing. Thanks to our scheduling team, aka Marcus Byrd, we were able to get the raters’ schedule to fit a Boat Day and still serve our clients. During my Boat Day, I had the chance to ask Jeremey his thoughts on the Boat Day. “The time together, and the conversations among the group were remarkable! I know that I speak for everyone in saying, I cannot wait for our next team building excursion,” he said with a grin on his face.

“Socializing and making friends at work is one of the best ways to increase productivity, communication, and transparency” states Susie, Manager of Strategic Initiatives. She did a great job coordinating the event.  She strategically grouped everyone by location, picked dates that worked well for everyone, and took lead on keeping the team on the same page with details regarding the event.

When I asked the field team their opinions about working at Performance Point; it was a consensus that the flexible hours are their favorite part! “I love the flexible scheduling” said Rodrigo who was recently promoted to Raleigh Regional Manager. Matt Jackson recently joined the team two months ago. He’s already in the field on his own and says he’s always doing something different. In the video below, you can also see a live testimony from Rodrigo and Matt.

For a glimpse into our Boat Day adventures, check out the video below. It’s only one minute long. Thank you to everyone for their hard work and hope you all had a great time cruising on Boat Day 2018.

Performance Point Boat Day 2018 from Lilly Liang on Vimeo.

14

Sep

The Breakdown on ERI

The Breakdown on ERI 

By:  Lilly Liang

The Energy Rating Index (ERI) is one of the many important changes in the construction industry. If you’re panicking and asking yourself, “how does it work?!” Luckily, we are here to break down the facts for you.

 

What are the current compliance options?

  • The Prescriptive Path: If you choose the prescriptive path in the code, you can look at the prescriptive tables in the energy conservation code and install the R-Values listed. For clear majority of new homes in NC, the 2018 NC Energy Conservation Code this will require R-15 walls and R-38 ceiling insulation.
  • Total Building UA Trade-off: This is the methodology REScheck is built on. REScheck is a total UA trade-off software tool used to demonstrate compliance with energy code requirements As the name suggests this only allows tradeoffs to the building envelope R-Values and window U-Values.
  • Energy Cost Compliance Option: This is full energy simulation (REM design, REM rate, Ekotrope, Energy Gauge, and so forth). This works by comparing the simulated energy cost of a code-built home to the simulated energy cost of the as-built home.  If the simulation shows the as-built home will use the same or less energy as the code-built home, then it passes.  This report must then be signed off by a Registered Design Professional.
  • Energy Rating Index (ERI): In the most recent versions of the IECC, there’s another new path, the ERI. The ERI requires the same level of detail as the Energy Cost Compliance Option but can be performed by a HERS Rater instead of a Registered Design Professional.  The ERI works by comparing an Energy Index calculated according to the 2018 NCECC.  One down side of the ERI is that it has an R-Value “backstop” that does not allow you to go any lower than the prescriptive R-Values spelled out in the 2012 NCECC.

How does the ERI benefit me?

Generally speaking, the ERI is less expensive to implement than following the Prescriptive Path for Energy code compliance.  This is true because an average house will cost $400-$600 to upgrade insulation, but the ERI will cost less to perform.

For builders, using spray foam the ERI will not allow you to go as low as R-19 on the roof deck so the Energy Cost Performance Option will be your best bet.

In addition to less cost, the ERI will allow your Energy Rater to generate a HERS index for the home which can be a helpful sales tool.  If your Energy Rater participates with the Assure Performance program you can also get an Energy Cost Index and projected utility costs for the future homeowner.

How do you get an ERI?

Through modeling and inspections done by a third-party verifier (Ahem…Performance Point), you can get an ERI. The ERI option uses appliances, HVAC, and more, in additional to the envelope features.

“When we are all familiar with doing the performance path, and when we do the performance path, then we have our standard reference home and we have our model home. It’s the same thing. When we look at this, we have our ERI reference home. This is the one that if we built it exactly to what the code required, it would use this much energy,” said Shirley Ellis, a member of the ICC Board of Directors.

Energy Rating Index to show the minimum requirements for each climate zone.

 

Who are you going to call? Performance Point!

On January 2019, the 2018 NC Code will go into effect with the 2012 IECC Code standards. That’s only three months away now so lets be ahead of the curve! We can help you avoid cost of the new energy code by doing the ERI instead. ERI is a good option for those who find it difficult to meet the new standard.

Performance Point has been in the industry for over 10 years now and we always stay updated in recent changes. It can be difficult to completely understand the ERI performance path so please contact us if you have any questions – lilly@www.theperformancepoint.com

Additional Resources:

RESNET ERI F.A.Q. – https://www.resnet.us/uploads/documents/RESNET_Energy_Rating_Index_FAQ_Factsheet.pdf

ERI Webinar Transcript – https://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/becu/ERI_Webinar_Video_Transcript.pdf

REScheck – https://www.energycodes.gov/sites/default/files/becu/REScheck%20Basics%20Webinar%20Video%20Transcript.pdf