We recently got invited to help Hillsdale College understand the impact of the renovations of a dorm on their energy usage. The dorm was built in the 1960s and was ready for a major renovation. The contractors working on the project, the facilities director, energy guru all thought that the building leaked like a strainer and improving the windows would prove to be useful. The best way to see if air is leaking in a building is to do a blower door test. The results were fascinating.
According to the blower door experts, the building had very little air leakage--a complete surprise to all of us there. We imagined that the building would be so leaky that it would be impossible to keep a candle lit on a windy night. But we were wrong...but what does that mean?
Sometimes the results of a test hit you like a brick to the head. These results were completely contrary to what we imagined happening in the building--but now all parties are better informed. Too often, major decisions are made on gut checks and assumptions, instead of important checks and due diligence. Isn't it worth the investment of time and money to get it right? This is where hiring a professional is of utmost importance (I feel like that was a blog once upon a time...). Only blower door pros could have told us that these results were correct. In addition, we are still able to help Hillsdale understand how their energy is being lost, even if it is not in the "obvious" way.
Ultimately, isn't it very dangerous to make decisions without getting all the info needed? I'd say it is like a brick to the head.