Barry Westbrook, CIH – DocAir

Air Date: 2-25-2011|Episode 198


Barry Westbrook founded DocAir in 2002 to make buildings work better. Since 80% of all the homes that will be in service 30 years from now are already constructed, DocAir provides diagnostic and remediation services to improve the performance and sustainability of residential homes and commercial buildings...

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Barry Westbrook founded DocAir in 2002 to make buildings work better. Since 80% of all the homes that will be in service 30 years from now are already constructed, DocAir provides diagnostic and remediation services to improve the performance and sustainability of residential homes and commercial buildings. For new construction DocAir also offers a one stop source for an integrated high performance building package that includes HVAC design and testing, thermal insulation, and storm water management. Mr. Westbrook has a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering Physics and has attained a number of professional credentials including Professional Engineer, Certified Industrial Hygienist, Certified Safety Professional, and Certified Healthcare Environmental Manager. His 30 year career includes stints as construction superintendent, Licensed Master Plumber, industrial process engineer, and environmental consultant. Today, Barry considers his role to be primarily that of building scientist and consumer advocate for better construction quality. He also provides expert witness services in litigation cases involving mold, toxic exposures, and building systems evaluation. Mr. Westbrook is a regular speaker at technical seminars for home builders, building codes officials, architects, engineers, and attorneys. DocAir was also an integral part of the team that achieved the first LEED “Gold” rating for an existing home in Tennessee.

Z-Man’s Blog:

A close shave with Occam’s Razor

Today’s guest on IAQradio, Barry Westbrook, PE, CIH cited Occam’s Razor “simplest solutions are often correct” and practices is it in his indoor air quality consulting business:

Nuggets mined from today’s show:

· Water erodes building foundations. Roof water needs to be removed from the building and kept away. Inspect the exterior of the home for bellies, areas where water accumulates. Excavate around the building and use compacted bentonite clay to shed water.

· There are 2 types of spray foam insulation: open cell and closed cell. Spray foam insulation in attics and reflective foil

· “Wet weather spring”, builder’s speak in Tennessee “not the builder’s problem”

· “A sump pump in a crawl space is a term of surrender.’

· Moisture problems in crawl spaces are most often caused by air conditioning lowering the surface temperature of materials below the dew point. Putting a hole in the crawl space wall doesn’t solve a moisture problem. Conditioning crawl spaces can result in moisture problems when the thermostat is located deep within the occupied space.

· “Building abominations”: leaky can lights, attic access doors, return air plenum’s leaking into adjoining areas.

· Duct leakage is the worst problem that nobody has heard of. Sealing duct leakage provides the best return on investment for building owners seeking to reduce energy costs.

· Sampling should be done to prove a hypothesis. Don’t connect sample results like parts of a jigsaw puzzle.

· ‘Post remediation verification mold sampling has done a great disservice to mold remediators, when air sampling results show contaminates that may have originated from outside the remediated area.” Ambiguous sampling results may cause client anxiety.

· Indoor air pollution is misunderstood because air is invisible. The source of most indoor pollution comes from outside.

· Most homes are “naturally ventilated by leaks, not by science”.

· Fiberglass is a great insulation product. Installation is the problem, when installed incorrectly air moves around it.

· “Air is the best insulator, the problem is that it doesn’t stay still”

· Good resource book, “Diagnosis & Repairing House Structure Problems” by Edgar Seaquist

· Cited, the research findings of Dr. Willliam Miller from ORNL “life expectancy of roof shingles is related to the surface temperature on exposed side of shingles not the interior attic temperature.”

Dieter, commented don’t under estimate the role of UV light plays in damaging roof shingles. John Lapotiare, suggested that listeners check out WUFI moisture engineering software available from ORNL (Oakridge National Laboratory).

Today’s Music: “Growing Mold” by the Radioactive Chickens

Z-Man signing off

 

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