Building Performance Contractors Association

Advanced Diagnostics -- Field Training For Building Performance Contractors and Raters

March 23, 2009 -- Buffalo, NY
March 24, 2009 -- Rochester, NY
March 30, 2009 -- Albany, NY
March 31, 2009 -- Syracuse, NY

7:30 am - Registration, Coffee & Donuts
8:00 am - 3:30 pm +/-  Training

Course Abstract

For several years now the Raters and Home Performance Contractors of New York State have been conducting blower door and duct leakage testing to verify high quality air and duct sealing in the ENERGY STAR Labeled Homes Program®, and the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program. This level of diagnostics has done much to educate builders and contractors on the impact of random air leakage through the building envelope, and to prompt more detail in air sealing of both the envelope and heating/cooling duct work. This field presentation will take pressure diagnostics to the next level with illustration of techniques to measure the interaction and CFM of airflow between the conditioned spaces and attached unconditioned zones (Garage and Attic). This is a valuable diagnostic tool for prioritizing air sealing work and in performing quality assurance of completed work in both new and existing buildings. Additional pressure diagnostics demonstrations using a differential manometer will include quantifying large exhaust fan airflow, measuring total airflow of central heating/cooling systems, testing for pressure balance within areas of the conditioned space and confirming the effectiveness of specialized mechanical systems such as radon sub-slab depressurization. Questions from attendees will be encouraged. This is a hands-on training, so a digital manometer and a pocket calculator are required.

Course Outline

The Principles of Pressure Diagnostics

  • Physics of airflow and pressure transference – What is the relationship between the effective hole size, CFM flow and measured pressure differentials?
  • Typical pressures for typical buildings – What are the natural and mechanical forces (pressures) behind airflow, how can we prioritize their importance and what are the consequences of these driving  forces across various pressure boundaries?

Tools for Pressure Diagnostics

  • Zonal pressure (series leakage) calculators – An easy to use and accurate way to measure CFM flow across established pressure boundaries.
  • Blower door diagnostics – More than measuring CFM/50 Pa., the blower door provides a means of  manipulating building pressures for expanded diagnostics, i.e. zonal pressures, window leakage measurements, heat exchanger leak detection, and venting appliance simulation.
  • Duct leakage testing devices – Techniques for measuring total duct leakage and leakage to outside of  the conditioned zone, measuring total CFM flow across the heat exchanger/cooling coil and measuring the pressure differential at supply and return grills.
  • Fan flow metering – Techniques for measuring large and small exhaust fan flows, using a variety of measuring devices.
  • Diagnostic smoke – Techniques for locating air leakage across pressure boundaries and duct work.

Interpreting Leakage and Ventilation Measurements in Context to ENERGY STAR Standards.

  • Computerized calculator – Introducing a field calculator that helps interpret collected building information into useful Energy Star standards and terms, in addition to calculating standard geometric shapes, calculating dew points, converting HERS Scores to the new HERS Index.

Things to Bring

  • Clip Board
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Digital Manometer
  • Calculator
  • I would like to encourage attendees to bring their infrared imaging equipment to the training. IR gives analysts a huge advantage in locating air leakage.

Speaker Biography

Robert Kahabka, Northern Comfort Diagnostics, Woodhull, NY
Robert has over 25 years experience in building construction, energy analysis, air quality analysis and remediation work He has 18 years experience in adult education, including classroom and field training on building construction, energy efficiency and indoor air quality. He has served as a local Weatherization Manager and a Technical Representative and Trainer for New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. His current business, Northern Comfort Diagnostics, provides accredited training and quality assurance for The Energy Star Labeled Homes Program® in New York State and New England. Additionally, he provides training and consulting services for builders, owners and home performance contractors in New York State.

CEU Credits

  • Building Performance Institute CEH’s (5.5)
  • RESNET CEC’s (5.5)


  • $200, $100 after NYSERDA’s Rebate.


A minimum of 8 attendees is required to hold this training.
Space Is Limited to 12 Attendees per Training

There will be doughnuts and Coffee during registration and a Lunch will be provided..

Rebate Process

To qualify for this rebate, you have to have a New York address.

When you register online, additional information will be requested, such as:

  • The Rebate Check will be made out to:  _________
  • The Company’s Federal I.D. #
  • Or, if it is to be made out to an individual, that individual’s Social Security Number

By providing this information when registering, you will help streamline the process.  You will need your Social Security Number or Federal I.D. #, depending upon whether you paid as an individual (in which case, you must give them your social security number) or whether your fee was paid by a company or an employer (in which case, you must provide the Federal Employer ID Number).

You will be given a form to sign at the event, that will be sent to the sponsors. After review, and within about four months, you will receive a check from NYSERDA for $100 which is 50% of your Registration Fee.

Refund Policy

Registration refund requests received by email will be honored up to seven days prior to the event. After that time, refunds will not be granted.

For more information about the workshop, contact: