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Can a Dog Door Really be Green?

Can a dog door really be green? The answer is yes. A new generation of energy efficient dog doors or green dog doors are designed to seal airtight and reduce the carbon paw print. Earth Advantage Institute performed a blower door test on the Freedom Pet Pass dog door for a Passive Home project in Oregon and the new green dog door exceed air tightness requirements set forth by Passive Homes by a factor of 3.

Who is Earth Advantage Institute?

Earth Advantage Institute is a non-profit that  implements sustainable building practices. A team of dedicated industry professionals specialize in implementing a practical and cost-effective path to sustainability and reduction of carbon in the built environment. Earth Advantage Institute is quickly becoming a leader in the field of sustainable building and climate solutions. Visit their website to learn more about their mission and how your home or business can benefit from building green.

What is a blower door testing as it relates to Passive Homes?

To test levels of air tightness and locate leaks in a home, a large calibrated fan called a blower door is used to evacuate air from the interior. This fan depressurizes the building down to -50 pascals, which is the equivalent of a 25 mph wind hitting the house from all directions at once. Under this pressure differential, any areas contributing to leakage can be found and remedied.

The resulting amount of leakage can be expressed many ways, but is usually seen in the form of “x” ach5o, which relates how many air changes per hour the house will experience under an induced pressure differential of 50 pascals. It is not uncommon for older homes to have numbers in excess of 10 ach50 (10 whole house air changes every hour at -50 pascals). New, well built homes often fall in the 3-5 ach50 range, and getting below 2 ach50 only takes place with true diligence to sealing details and components.

What were the blower door test results For the Freedom Pet Pass dog door? Courtesy of Blake Bilyeu from Bilyeu Homes Inc., energy efficient home builder.

The air tightness requirement for Passive House certification is 0.6 ach50., and requires a different method for interior volume calculation resulting in even stricter levels of tightness. This level is achievable only with an extremely well thought out and detailed shell.

Our Passive House project in Salem, OR, achieved a remarkable third party certified 0.2 ACH50 on it’s final blower door test, and this was with a Freedom Pet Pass 6×10 door-mounted pet door unit in place during testing.

Blower door test results for the 16th & Nebraska Passive House as tested by the Earth Advantage Institute

Interior volume based on Passive House Methodology: 13772 ft3
CFM at 50 pascal depressurization: 47 cfm50
Air changes per hour at 50 pascal depressurization: 0.2 ach50

Blake J. Bilyeu | SHP| CPHC |
Bilyeu Homes, Inc.
custom home design and construction

Can a dog door be green? A Freedom Pet Pass is. If you have an ordinary dog door installed, find out how much of a carbon paw print your dog is leaving by having it tested. Visit Earth Advantage Institute to learn more about sustainable building practices and products that will improve your homes performance.

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