January 2003 Update on Brooklyn project
At the end of a four-day blitz build over the MLK holiday weekend, SWA staff visited the site and found nearly uniform adoption of airsealing and insulation details, and some framing changes that greatly reduced thermal bridging. Further, the installation of high performance low-e vinyl windows was almost completed, and detailing at the frames was significantly better. Sealed combustion boiler units with insulated DHW storage are installed -- this slightly annoyed the plumbers who were forced to read instructions on the units prior to installation.
As part of the blitz-build, SWA and HfHnyc agreed to set a date for a blower door test for their first unit for building tightness; this would insure that they are nearing their goals for tightness to reach ENERGY STAR. The first unit was tested with the assistance of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC) Weatherization Program on January 30.
The test was conducted without finished plumbing, electrical, or flooring, but with all windows, doors and sheetrock complete, and got a blower door reading of 2100 cfm @ 50 pa. This number will improve with the finishes on the building and after certain airsealing details are upgraded.
The additional good news is that in order to meet ENERGY STAR guildelines, the finished houses were required to perform at better than 2200 cfm@50pa, meaning that if construction management is uniform or better in the rest of the 20 homes, they will meet ENERGY STAR in NYS.
Continued Detailing Needed
Certain details need better scrutiny, not only in these homes, but in future single and multi-unit housing.
Leakage from unit to unit
The photos below show two details where metal framing above the windows was changed use less metal. The first is very difficult to insulate and will reduce the overall effectiveness of the wall; the second is a vast improvement.
Overall, the increase in airsealing techniques and insulation practices will make these buildings meet ENERGY STAR, effectively making them the first ENERGY STAR buildings in NYC that were constructed by a not-for-profit agency. HfHNYC has moved mountains to change the way their construction is completed, and the field staff, particularly the Americorps, have worked hard to continue to teach these principles to volunteers in the field.
Content updated on 3/14/2003