When the Florida Building Code, Energy Conservation Version 5 adopted mandatory air infiltration testing (ie, blower door testing) for new construction homes and residential units, enforcement authorities sought greater clarification on who qualified as an “approved entity” to do the testing.
Sections R402.4.1.2 and R104.5 indicate that a Florida blower door test must be done by an approved third party Energy Auditor or Energy Rater. Both titles require certification – either from the Building Performance Institute (BPI) or Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) – to qualify.
Builders, HVAC technicians, and other home performance professionals equally wondered how exactly they should go about acquiring the blower door testing skills and certification to comply with code.
To learn more about blower door testing and its benefits, please visit our Blower Door & Duct Leakage Test Training page.
Many states leave this language vague in the building code, which requires professionals to contact their local code official, or Authority Having Jurisdiction, to see how they would prefer to see the code met.
BPI Certification Valid for?Florida Blower Door Testing Requirement
The Building Performance Institute (or BPI), known for its nationally-respected home energy auditor certification program, recently obtained a set of non-binding interpretations from the Building Officials Association of Florida (BOAF) that provide guidance for meeting the blower door requirement in Florida. BOAF is an association of building officials, building inspectors, plans examiners, and building code compliance professionals in the state of Florida.
The BOAF interpretations recognize individuals who possess a BPI Certification as qualified individuals to perform blower door testing.
The interpretations go on to say that BPI-certified professionals meet the criteria set forth in 553.990-999 and the Florida energy code for test entities.
BPI CEO Larry Zarker submitted three separate inquiries to BOAF as a means of clarifying the blower door testing requirement and requesting consideration of BPI’s certifications, not limited to BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage, BPI Building Analyst, and BPI Envelope.
In all three cases, BOAF ruled “yes” in support of BPI Certification as a compliance pathway to the Florida blower door testing requirement.
As Larry Zarker noted in his requests:
- BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage qualifies professionals to perform the blower door and duct leakage tests in single and low-rise multi-family residential buildings.
- The BPI Building Analyst and BPI Envelope certifications qualify professionals to evaluate the structure of a home, which leads to comprehensive whole-house recommendations that consider insulation, mechanical systems, airflow patterns, and frequently identified failure points.
BOAF granted approval of BPI Certification as a valid Florida blower door testing certification based on the following points:
- The BPI Program is a national program that includes classroom and field training and examination.
- The program to become a BPI rater has prerequisites before one is permitted to take the training.
- BPI partners with the USDOE on rating existing homes.
- BPI certified raters are subject to a quality control program.
- The raters may only operate on code-related items with the approval of the code official.
- There is no requirement for a local jurisdiction to accept reports it does not believe are correct.
- The program is an additional resource for departments that may not have the expertise to conduct increasingly complicated energy audits for new or existing construction.
“This is an important development for the building industry in Florida,” Zarker said. “Home builders need affordable options for testing to prove they meet the requirements of the Florida building code.”
Building code officials and stakeholders nationwide have started to recognize the importance of energy efficiency in new home construction. In addition to reduced energy expenses, homeowners living in energy-efficient homes can expect improved indoor air quality and thermal comfort. More and more building codes around the country are starting to require air infiltration assessments via blower door testing and duct leakage testing to improve efficiency and human health.
Blower door testing in new Florida homes becomes mandatory on July 1, 2017.
Everblue, an approved BPI Test Center, is currently offering the BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage training in Tampa, FL.
If you’re looking to obtain the blower door test certification in Florida, we hope that you will join us for training! Everblue offers discounts for corporate groups, and we can provide this training on-site if your business is located elsewhere in Florida.
The BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage course focuses specifically on blower door and duct leakage testing. The program includes:
- a 2-hour webinar
- 4 hours of hands-on field training with equipment
- a field certification exam
Get certified to perform blower door testing in Florida! Call us at (800) 460-2575.