Blower door testing for commercial buildings
Blower door tests are used in single-family homes to locate air leaks and determine the air infiltration rate. But standards haven't been established for larger buildings—until now.
The Energy Conservancy, with help from MGE, performed blower door research in a Madison high-rise. The Energy Conservancy is a worldwide leader in the building performance testing industry.
A blower door test uses a powerful fan that mounts into an exterior door frame. The fan pulls air out of the building, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher pressure air from the outside then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings.
Sealing the openings helps to reduce energy use.
Gary Nelson, CEO, and Collin Olson, head physicist, of the Minneapolis-based Energy Conservancy recently spent a week in Madison doing research testing.They ran multiple blower door tests four days in a row under varying conditions and with varying equipment settings in a 100,000-square-foot unoccupied, multifamily high-rise building. Nature cooperated by dramatically changing the weather during the week allowing testing under hot, humid and windy conditions as well as cool and calm conditions.