Building Science & Inspections
Existing buildings can be improved for energy efficiency, air quality and comfort. Our building science consultant analyzes existing buildings to determine the cause then provide solutions.
Our focus is in the discovery of design issues that usually appear a few years later after construction. Common issues that are found, poor air quality "Bad Air", HVAC air flow, air balancing, incorrect electrical motor sizes, exhaust ventilation, make up air, and moisture issues.
Before you purchase or lease your next building!
You may have the building inspected but what about the infrastructure that is the heartbeat? HVAC-R, duct system, rooftop package units, air flow, air balancing, walk-in or reach-in medium and low temp equipment, lighting, thermal barriers, etc. Any issues that is discovered before the purchase could save you thousands in repairs.
We examine and measure thermal barriers and thermal breaks that may cause climate zone heating and cooling issues. These areas would be subject to moisture or mold issues. A thermal barrier is usually insulation, spray foam. Thermal breaks offend occur letting in un conditioned air pass into a wall. We all know what happens when cold air meets warm air. Then we start seeing moisture and mold build up.
are areas of the building shell that should be preventing air leaks through the exterior walls. Any air leaks would cause UN-conditioned air to pass through into conditioned air areas. Breaks in the air barrier would cause moisture build up inside the walls, heating & cooling problems and building pressure changes. Years of air leakage inside of walls creates mold.
Part of the building envelope includes duct systems and CFM delivered of conditioned air. Leaky duct systems, static pressures, poor air balancing, under sized equipment & duct systems all contribute to high energy bills and building pressure changes. Duct tightest and air flow is tested and measured. Evaporator and condenser coils should be cleaned and checked.
When the HVAC system was installed we can almost guaranty air balancing was not conducted. Duct work was installed supplying each room with conditioned air. We see some areas with triple the air flow as other rooms much less. While some rooms remain uncomfortable "cold" / "warm" other areas with a ten degree temperature difference.
Make up Air:
In larger building a system was installed to supply fresh air into the building. These systems if not balanced correctly will cause the building to be in a higher positive pressure. What goes in must come out! Make up air is used in buildings that maintain many people to adjust for air volume. Make up air is also applied to buildings or rooms that were constructed tight. Little to no air leaks.
Most owners are not aware of how building pressures effect air quality and energy usage. High negative or positive pressures cause increase in energy usage and also cause health & safety issues. All buildings or structures when properly balanced should maintain a pressure near zero.
Gas Fired Equipment:
For health and safety reasons we always need to check CO venting from boilers, water heaters etc. If your building is under a negative pressure -3 pascals or more back drafting is taking place. With a build up of CO will be unhealthy for family / employees. Flame roll out is also possible on gas or oil fired equipment with high negative pressures inside the structure.
Proper water run offs to keep water away from the foundation are inspected. Moisture tightness of the structure should be reviewed.
Many buildings are subject to part of a exterior wall conducts heat and passes through the thermal barrier causing areas of the interior building hard to cool.
We inspect all electrical equipment within these areas for heat loads. Also equipment overview is conducted with measuring amp loads and run time.
In most cases we see HIDs inside of buildings that produce heat loads. With today's technology lighting upgrades with LEDs can save up to 75% in lighting cost and reduce heat loads. Why increase your heat loads in the summer? This causes HVAC systems to run longer. Existing maintenance on HIDs and fluorescent s is costing you more than you think.
Data rooms are the backbone to larger buildings. These areas should be kept cooled and monitored with temperature sensors. These rooms must maintain temperatures to adjust for electronic equipment and prevent them from over heating. A dry cooled environment.
The more doors & windows in a building are subject to more air leaks and heat loads.
Radon: In Oregon:
radon gas is present in many areas. Radon will cause serious health issues and even cancer in a short amount of time. I should know because I am a cancer survivor! Our home when tested with our electronic equipment was over 4 PCi/L in the up stairs living room. EPA standards states any structure with levels at 4 PCi/L should be repaired. In our basement the levels were over 11 PCi/L. We understand this maybe a Real Estate deal killer. However what is more important, your health or a contaminated home?
CO / CO2 / Formaldehyde
Common volatile chemicals found in thousands of airborne particles that we breathe everyday. Every home and business should be tested for these chemicals to see if the PPM is to high for your family or employees.
Operating rooms, chemical storage rooms, treatment rooms all have the same thing in common. Pressures! These areas should be under a negative pressure with make up air. Bacteria, germs are airborne. So this infectious air should be pulled out of the room and replaced by filtered clean air. Example: If you are in a waiting room in a hospital you are exposed to all types of bad air. However with enough air exchanges in that room, air is being replaced several times per hour when working correctly.
Chemical storage rooms:
can be a hazard. If any containers have the slightest leak those flumes "chemicals" could be pulled inside of a condition space. Any static spark would cause an explosion. So those storage rooms should be under a negative pressure with replacement air as well.
We have tested and investigated hundreds if not thousands of building science issues over the years.