Consulting and evaluation services
Isolation Ippersiel can offer you critical analytical support with regard to your various needs.
Buildings' energy performance
With a new construction, we can evaluate proposed materials at the drawings and specification stage to ensure your property's optimal energy performance. We can give you sound advice, not only about which materials to choose and where to use them strategically, but also concerning a multitude of details that could result in substantial energy savings. For an existing construction, we can proceed with an on-site evaluation and identify the various structural features that could have a negative impact on the structure's energy performance.
- Building exterior:
Structure, foundations, framework, chimney, exterior weather walls, doors and windows, ground slope, drainage, etc;
- Building interior:
Foundation walls, floors, structural elements, walls, etc;
- Insulation and air tightness;
- Heating, ventilation and cooling systems;
- Energy consumption habits:
- Hot water, lighting and electric household appliances.
During his visit, the energy advisor will conduct a blower door test, which will indicate your construction's level of tightness and energy performance.
The blower door test is an instrumented test that evaluates a home's tightness, the quantity of cold air infiltrations, and the location of leaks requiring draft proofing. Sealing undesirable leaks will increase your comfort level and reduce your energy consumption. The average Quebec home loses about 30 % of its heat due to air leaks found throughout the structure. The instrument in question is called a blower door.
The blower door is a large fan that the advisor sets up in the home's main doorway using an adjustable door frame equipped with an airtight nylon membrane; the variable-speed blower is mounted on this panel. A manometer (pressure gauge) measures the air flow going through the blower in cubic feet per minute and the resulting pressure on the membrane in Pascals (Pa).
The blower door test in itself only lasts about half an hour; the entire audit, on the other hand, can last up to two hours.
Before running the test, the energy advisor prepares your home by closing every opening that leads outside: windows, doors (except the one holding the blower door), and ventilation doors; doors opening to unheated spaces (attic, garage or crawl space) will also be closed. Interior doors are left open so that the air can flow freely throughout the house. In rooms featuring suspended ceilings, one of the acoustic tiles is lifted to avoid damaging the ceiling. Gas and oil-burning furnaces are shut off for security reasons. If necessary, the fireplace's air outlet and doors are closed, and ashes are covered with newspaper to keep them from scattering. Finally, to avoid any unpleasant surprises, the advisor starts the blower at low speed and goes around the house to ensure that everything is fine.
How does the test unfold?
The advisor sets up his device and then starts the blower. His manometer indicates the air flow rate per minute required to maintain a constant pressure in the house. He repeats the exercise with different pressures and compares the information collected with estimated values based on the volume of the house. Once the data is collected, the advisor keeps the blower running and inspects the house from top to bottom to pinpoint air leaks, using his hand or a smoke pencil. Once leaks are identified, he evaluates their extent and includes them in his report.
The blower door test can be carried out safely in any season - results will be just as dependable in winter or summer. If the test is done in the winter, however, the house's interior temperature is likely to drop a bit, as cold air is blown into the house, and, if the home is heated with a combustion system, the heat is shut off throughout the test. Nonetheless, cold air flow is more easily detected by hand.
The door does not have to be removed to install the blower door; it simply needs to be opened. The test will not damage the building; the energy advisor will carry out a series of verifications before and after the test to ensure that everything is under control and that no damage has been done.
Following his visit, the energy advisor will give you an audit report explaining the condition of your home and the results of the blower door test (tightness of your home), and making recommendations to help you maximize your energy efficiency.
The energy efficiency assessment report will indicate your home's performance rating as evaluated by the test, as well as the rating that your home may achieve once renovations have been carried out. It also includes:
- List of recommended renovations, as well as their priority and potential for energy savings;
- Other improvements likely to lead to energy savings;
- Table indicating where heat losses were detected by the blower door test and forecast of heat losses after renovations are completed;
- Table indicating: annual energy consumption at the time of the energy audit; energy consumption after renovations are completed, with existing heating system; and energy consumption after renovations are completed, with new heating system;
- Additional information about energy efficient renovations;
- List of publications about energy efficiency at home.
For assistance or to make an appointment with one of our experts, call 450-434-7918 or simply fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
For more information about the energy efficiency audit and blower door test, see the Rénoclimat section of the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique du Québec website:
Contaminant analysis and detection
In Quebec, thousands of homes built before the 1970's still contain asbestos-laced thermal and acoustic insulation, or even decorative floor and wall coverings. Simply moving or removing one of these materials during renovations will release asbestos fibers into the air and expose the building's occupants to this hazardous contaminant. Owners of such buildings can call upon one of Isolation Ippersiel's experts to analyse their home and, if need be, see to its decontamination.
Isolation Ippersiel calls on its expertise to locate asbestos according to government regulated methodology.
Since asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked eye, the detection of materials containing asbestos is carried out as follows:
- - visual macroscopic aspect of materials;
- - supposed function of materials (fire protection, for example);
- - date of installation.
No portable asbestos detecting device exists. When in doubt, we send a sample of potentially contaminated material to a certified laboratory for analysis.
Note: Since even the mechanical act of removing a sample can produce a dispersion of asbestos fibers into the atmosphere, we take all necessary precautions - wearing protective masks and clothing, securing the location, spraying of sealant, etc. - to limit health hazards.
- Our expert examines all available documentation describing the premises (plans, previous diagnoses);
- He makes a visual inspection of materials readily accessible (without destructive work) as featured on the Public Health Code predefined list. For each of these materials, he attests to the presence or absence of asbestos. When in doubt, he collects a sample to have it tested by a certified laboratory;
- Our expert assesses the condition of asbestos-containing materials and classifies them as being in « good condition » or in « degraded condition »;
- He delivers a report listing usual procedures to be followed when degraded materials have been spotted.
The report we produce includes the pinpointing of hazardous materials on a diagram of the site, pictures of said materials, evaluations of their condition, laboratory test results, as well as our conclusions. In most cases, the latter do not impose asbestos removal procedures on the owners.
The risk assessment of lead exposure, as defined by the Public Health Code, concerns properties:
- dedicated in whole or in part to housing
- built before January 1, 1949.
The assessment targets coating materials (paints, sealers, and other construction and finishing materials) containing lead and which constitute (when degraded) the main source of lead exposure. The dust they produce, when ingested (or, to a lesser extent, inhaled), can result in intoxication or contaminate the drinking water flowing through lead pipes.
Risk assessment of lead exposure must be carried out in the following cases:
- when a property is sold;
- since August 11, 2008, when a property is rented;
- before August 11, 2008, in common areas of apartment buildings.
Regulations allow for other circumstances that make a lead diagnosis mandatory.
Portable devices were designed to detect lead. We use a Niton XL300 X-ray fluorescence meter (DGSNR T751118 S2 authorization). In compliance with the April 25, 2006 order, each of the premise's diagnostic units (a wall in a room, for example) is measured at least once. If a measure indicates lead concentrations exceeding the prescribed limit of 1 mg/cm², our report concludes to the presence of lead-containing coating materials, whose degradation will be assessed.
If the assessment reveals degraded coating materials containing lead:
- the owner must inform occupants and anybody who may be working on the premises;
- the owner must proceed with the necessary work to eliminate lead exposure risks (Public Health Code section L1334-9).
In the case of heavily degraded paints (whose criteria are defined in annex IV of the April 25, 2006 order), we forward the report to the proper authorities, as stipulated in the regulation.
To learn more about the risks related to asbestos and lead contamination, for assistance in your assessment approach, or to make an appointment for an analysis with one of our expert, call 450-434-7918 or simply fill out the form at the bottom of this page.