Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

How do I install your energy efficient wall mount pet door?

There are many things to consider when explaining how to install a pet door. If I addressed this question like a window installer that was asked to frame a window into a wall I would need to know how the outside wall of your home was constructed, ie location and supporting wall stud configuration, the outside (vinyl siding, brick veneer)and inside (dry wall, lap plaster) building materials attached to the inside and outside of that wall.

Is the location clear of utilities (electric, plumbing, cable etc.). The size of the window or in this case pet door to be installed. Lets not forget the elevation difference between the inside floor and the outside ground level the pet would traverse or the depth of the wall and tools necessary to safely finish this project with.

Our medium wall mount can be framed into walls like a vinyl replacement window or exterior door with out having to add a header. Our large wall mount pet door with a outside frame width of 16 inches wide can be attached directly to the outside side of 16 inch on center standard wall studs, This would give a recessed look with the exterior (siding etc.).

If the wall studs are wider than 16 inch on center then once again our pet door can be framed in between the studs and trimmed off in the same fashion your existing windows and doors have been trimmed on both the interior and exterior sides of your wall.

We don’t offer an aluminum wall tunnel kit because they are energy inefficient and still need to be framed in. We do offer a versatile energy efficient Pet door product at a price when compared to other wall mount products gives you a monetary difference that can be applied to the cost of installation, leaving you with a custom built draft free pet door application.

If the first two paragraphs seem a bit overwhelming, to summarize your question it may be better to ask who should install rather than how to install a freedom pet pass wall mount pet door. The answer to the second question “what is the difference in the two doors available”, one wall mount is 1 inch thick and houses both our flap system and security door. The other wall mount is a 1/2 inch thick and houses only the draft free, wind resistant flap system.

Posted on Leave a comment

Will cats pass through your air tight pet flap?

Will cats pass through your pet flap? Yes, our pet flap sells regularly to cat owners who are now comfortably enjoying a draft free home.

Our product when originally introduced to the market with a magnet to magnet in line design provided a weather barrier that satisfied both an easy access for dogs and still handle the wind commonly associated with inclement weather. Since then I have found that by offsetting the bridge (the one way flexible magnetic jam) slightly lower, the amount of magnetic energy can be reduced to accommodate our feline friends.

The flap system still produces a draft proof seal for energy efficient homes located in climates that regularly create a difference in outdoor and indoor air presser. The trade off is the amount of wind the flap system is exposed to and the amount of magnetic energy the cat will push against to pass through. Watch this video to learn more.