Crawling in dark places and learning lots

So it has been a busy six weeks working with Conservation Services Group (CSG).  The first week consisted of training from the Applied Building Sciences division of Conservation Services Group.  A lot of the class room training was a BPI Building Analyst review, along with software and additional field training.  The cool thing about the field training was we actually used my house as one of the two field training homes.  So I had six energy auditors inspecting the work that I have done to my house, and I was also able to put my home into the system and see if I would qualify for some of the utility rebates for a new furnace.  Unfortunately no, but I did get a lot of compliments on the work I have performed to date, except for the fact that my home is well below the Building Air Flow standard.

The second week was a week of shadowing an auditor.  Although I had to cut it a couple of days short due to my presentation at the AIA Ohio Convention, it was a great way/best way to learn how things are and should be done.  As well as a quick lesson into the utility rebate program that CSG is running.

The third week was the first of solo audits.  Expecting new employees to take a little bit longer at first as they get use to what is expected in an audit, as well as the program, our first week consisted of one audit a day to get our time down to 4 hours to conduct the audit.  The audit includes everything in a full comprehensive BPI audit as well as a report generated at the customers house and discuss it with them.  Let me tell you that first week was a trial by fire.  All the homes I audited my first week ranged anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 square feet and all were built anywhere between 1910 and 1960, all with older systems and little to no insulation.  Most were very complicated houses.  So let’s just say my first week of audits was taking 5-6 hours to complete.  So I was getting nervous by the end of the week knowing that the next week I would be doing two audits a day.

Thankfully by the beginning of the fourth week something just clicked.  And that is when they started to fail.  Water heaters were failing the worst case draft testing left and right.  A few were not even drafting is quite conditions.  Now with some of these larger homes that have multiple exhaust fans, it is my opinion that we are creating un-natural conditions that the home owner would never create.  However that is the BPI standard that we work by, to turn on all exhaust fans to create the greatest negative pressure in the home.

All in all it has been a very busy 6 weeks getting use to the pace and getting my body to build its endurance to keep up the pace.  But I am seeing all types, sizes and ages of homes.  So it has been a great experience so far and I look forward to continuing to work for Conservation Services Group.  I am learning a lot and seeing how many things have been built, good and bad.  So if I get the time, I have some good ideas for some future posts.  So keep me in your RSS feeds for future updates.

About: Joshua Lloyd (115 Posts)

Joshua has a degree in architecture and is a LEED Accredited Professional that has worked in the design and construction industry for over 10 years, focusing his efforts on energy efficiency and building science. He has organized multiple events in Ohio to give young designers the opportunity to learn about “green” home design and produce actual projects. He was also a key player in Ohio’s first LEED for Homes Platinum project. Joshua is also a certified Building Analyst through the Building Performance Institute and performs home energy audits, assisting home owners in reducing their energy usage.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the update on your new adventure, Josh. Sounds like you’re learning a lot.