The Energy Group has decided to start a new project, which is to construct or purchase a blower door to test air permeability in buildings. Blower doors are used in the building industry to see how leaky new homes are and building regulations require that they are better than 10 m3/m2/hour. Blower doors use very power fans to pressurise and de-pressurise homes.
We see having access to a blower door as an adjunct to our thermal imaging project. It has some advantages over a thermal imaging camera:
- It can be used year round unlike our camera which only really works during cold weather in the winter
- It can be used to benchmark how leaky a home is – i.e. provide a quantitative result rather than the qualitative feedback that the thermal imaging camera provides. We can for example provide an estimate of how much heating energy is being used in the home because of the leaks
- We are hoping it might lead to a more interactive approach to reducing leaks in homes i.e. install the blower door, note how leaky the house is, go around the house fixing many of the leaks, and then re-benchmark the homes to see what improvements we have made
- There is very limited research which has taken place on the leakiness of existing homes, particularly historic homes, the last significant published paper was 15 years ago. The project may provide some opportunities to publish new results and improve our understanding of the energy efficiency of homes in our area
There are a number of approaches to the project that we could take, but these all involve acquiring some grant funding, and could include:
- Building a DIY blower door from powerful fans, a fan speed controller, a manometer, an air flow meter, wood and fabric, which would probably require funding of around £1,000
- Buying a new commercial blower door which would probably require funding of around £5,000
Either way it would be great if we could make use of the universities on our doorstep; the DIY version could be an engineering student final year project, and the commercial door could potentially be used by architecture and building students to help us produce research on air permeability of historic homes?
We believe this innovative project would be new and unique to community groups in the UK.
If you are interested in helping with the project more information is available here, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or come along to our first project meeting on April 14th. If you also have links with the university or know where we could borrow a blower door from please also get in touch?