Healthy Indoors Magazine

HI October 2017

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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HOUSE CALLS — October 2017 32 The House Whisperer By Nate Adams First off, this column is not about me. It's meant to help you solve problems. It's only possible because of my partners and mentors who have taught me the material for this, my predecessors who figured out the technical stuff we exe- cute, and our clients who have been kind enough to let us experiment on their homes. I don't like writing the "about us" stuff. It's hard to write about yourself, but here goes... You may be wondering if you should trust me. I hope that you are. It means you are a savvy consumer, likely fed up with conflicting information and possibly poor results from previous attempts to solve problems in your home. The most important thing to know about me is that I actually work on houses and confirm afterwards that the problems are solved. You can't learn from your mistakes if you don't go back and find out what mistakes you made. I've been on 3 different podcasts, presented to the De- partment of Energy, Ohio State University, ACCA (Air Con- ditioning Contractors of America), and more. We have pub- lished 85+ articles on the Energy Smart blog, plus articles for a bunch of outlets like The Journal of Light Construction, GreenTech Media, Green Building Advisor, CleanTechnica, and more. You can see the full listing of published and spo- ken work here. Our practice is primarily in Cleveland Ohio — here are 11 ridiculously detailed case studies of Energy Smart Home Performance projects. The theory you'll read here is backed up with field experience. We track our results and that feedback loop allows us to be constantly learning and failing and raising our game. Don't take my word for it ei- ther — here are client testimonials (and there are more in the case studies.). Enough about us. Here's what should you watch for when hiring home performance help: Look for a focus on results, not theory or "greenness" Let's talk about your quest to solve home imbalance prob- lems. Whoever you choose to listen to and/or work with, make sure they do field work and can prove their results objectively and subjectively — objectively with measure- ments, which I'll discuss shortly, and subjectively with de- tailed and glowing reviews. You want to see transparen- cy and accountability. This magazine column, our whole website, book, and other content grew out of frustration and passion. I'm really, really, really tired of seeing peo- ple waste money trying to solve a problem, only to barely address symptoms, fail to solve the root cause, and end up with mediocrity at best, or exacerbating the problem at worst. It's bad for consumers, and it has severely stunted the growth of our industry. Nobody is truly happy. Don't jump to conclusions. Don't get pushed to "buy this solution-ism." Slow Down. Follow a Logical Process! Part of this is a lack of good consumer oriented informa- tion to help you understand how your home really works, what is REALLY causing your problems, and then showing logical steps to solve those problems. Homes are complex systems of smaller interconnected systems. Understand- ing how adjusting one thing may affect performance of oth- er things is really important to avoid expensive mistakes. This column, our web site, and our YouTube channel aim to fill that educational gap. The other problem is a lack of accountability. We see a lot of "certifications," overuse of the words "green" and "sustainable," and frankly a lot of BS out there. (And I don't mean Building Science...) Don't buy any claims if they don't track outcomes and share results. Contractors can only keep doing crappy work with no consequences if con- sumers allow it. Poor performing materials and methods can only survive if no one tracks their performance. Mis- takes get repeated. Money gets wasted. Consumers get harmed. For example, take a look at this botched Energy Star 3.0 home outside Atlanta, Georgia. It's a Facebook group started by a ticked off homeowner. That homeowner re- placed his entire HVAC system (including duct work!) 18 months after buying the home. He has had myriad prob- lems with the house. He's now documenting poor work on

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