Blower Door Test: An Insight into Goldwire Heights Homes’ Energy Efficiency

Posted On: August 16, 2023

Ebony Hall, Director of Marketing & Communications

When it comes to sustainable housing, it’s important to pay attention to every detail. This includes design, materials, and energy efficiency. Navigate Communities is dedicated to providing affordable, sustainable homes that meet our high-quality standards. To ensure that we’re meeting those standards, we use specific metrics and tests, including the blower door test. Our two structural insulated panel (SIP) homes at Goldwire Heights are a testament to our commitment to quality and sustainability.

What is a Blower Door Test?
Blower Door Test

Did you know that a blower door test is a sophisticated measure used to assess the airtightness of buildings? This assessment can be likened to a health diagnostic for a building’s insulation and sealing efficiency.

The procedure involves mounting a calibrated fan onto an external door. This fan pulls air out of the building, causing the interior air pressure to drop. Consequently, higher-pressure outside air flows into the building through any unsealed cracks, gaps, or other openings.

It’s an important test to ensure that our homes at Goldwire Heights meet our high sustainability and energy efficiency standards.

The Importance of Airtightness

Airtightness, in the realm of building and construction, is a term that is gaining significant attention, and rightly so. As we move toward a world with an increasing focus on energy efficiency and sustainable living, the significance of airtightness in our homes and commercial buildings cannot be understated. Here’s a deeper dive into why airtightness is vital:

  1. Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings: The primary advantage of airtightness is its direct contribution to energy efficiency. Any leakage or draft in a building equates to a loss of conditioned air. In layperson’s terms, the warm air you’ve paid to heat can escape during winter, while the cool air from your air conditioning can leak out in the summer. By ensuring a building is airtight, you’re effectively trapping this conditioned air inside, leading to decreased energy consumption and, by extension, lower utility bills.
  2. Consistent Indoor Climate: Airtight buildings facilitate a more consistent indoor temperature. Without drafts or air leaks, rooms are less likely to have cold or hot spots, ensuring a comfortable living or working environment. This consistent climate can significantly enhance the well-being and comfort of building occupants.
  3. Improved Air Quality: A well-sealed building can help maintain better indoor air quality. Controlling and filtering the air is easier when a building is airtight, keeping out pollutants, allergens, and dust. Modern ventilation systems in airtight buildings ensure fresh air intake while filtering out contaminants, leading to a healthier indoor environment.
  4. Reduced Carbon Footprint: From a broader ecological perspective, airtight buildings reduce our carbon footprint. As these buildings are more energy-efficient, they rely less on fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In a world grappling with climate change, airtightness becomes an essential feature of sustainable and responsible building practices.
  5. Durability and Longevity of the Building: Moisture is a primary enemy of long-lasting structures. Improved airtightness reduces the chance of moist external air entering the building, preventing potential condensation within walls, floors, or ceilings, which can lead to mold growth, rot, and structural damage over time. An airtight building, therefore, can have a longer lifespan and reduced maintenance costs.
  6. Noise Reduction: A less obvious but equally significant benefit of airtightness is noise mitigation. Airtight seals can effectively reduce the infiltration of external noise, providing a quieter, more peaceful indoor environment. A quiet home is precious in urban areas or near busy roads and highways.

Airtightness is not just a technical term or a building metric; As we continue to innovate in the construction industry and place sustainability at the forefront, airtightness will remain a key focus area.

Goldwire Heights Test Results

To give you some context, a standard code-compliant house typically has an industry benchmark of 5 ACH (Air Changes per Hour). This metric means that external air leaks into the house five times per hour, replacing the conditioned air.

However, at Goldwire Heights, our homes are constructed using Extreme Panel SIPs and have an impressive ACH of 0.79. This means that our homes experience approximately 1/6th of the air leakage found in conventional homes.

Even more impressive is that we achieved this without significantly altering the standard SIP home-building methodology.

Advantages of SIP Panels

SIP panels are a crucial component of our construction approach at Goldwire Heights. These high-performance building systems are used for walls, roofs, and floors in both residential and light commercial edifices.

With a rigid foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, typically oriented strand board, SIP panels provide unmatched insulation and minimal thermal bridging.

The integrated construction of SIP panels results in fewer gaps and junctions in the building envelope, which inherently leads to reduced air leakage in homes built with them. This results in greater energy efficiency, consistent indoor temperatures, and substantial reductions in utility costs.

Commitment to Energy-Efficiency

At Navigate Communities, we are proud to push the boundaries of energy-efficient and affordable housing with our innovative design and construction. Our commitment to quality homes that are both sustainable and affordable is reflected in the numbers.

We believe that sustainable housing can be achieved without sacrificing affordability, and we invite industry professionals, stakeholders, and homeowners to explore the numerous benefits of SIP homes. Through our dedication to research, innovation, and sustainability, we aim to redefine the conversation around eco-friendly, affordable housing.


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