• For those with wings fly to your dreams

    BPI Building Analyst at last

    I found out a few weeks ago that I actually passed my field exam. I say actually because it was quite an event.

    I took my exam on Saint Patrick's day, with an impending cold, after a horrible weather week. I'm a nervous field test taker as it is and adding to my nerves was the fact that my proctor was the instructor I work for at Laney College where I help him and even write experiments for Building Science and show students how to use the Blower door, infared camera, and duct blaster.  I.e in order to this job effectively I ought to be able to pass this field exam.

    I was doing pretty well, I felt very comfortable if a little nervous about the time. A candidate has 2 hours to complete a house energy audit, which isn't as easy as it may sound.

    At the CAZ (Combustible Appliance Zone: hot water heater, furnace, etc.) testing is when things went a bit awry.  I was doing my worst case depressurizaition test. Basically you make the pressure in the house as negative as possible by turning on every fan in the house.  Kitchen hood, bathroom fans, dryer, if attached garage then the garage fan (which I honestly think most garages should have), perhaps the air handler.  You then go about the house starting at the point farthest away from the CAZ zone with a manometer to open and close doors to get the house at a very negative pressure.  Then you test for spillage and draft.  This test is an example of "worst case" if the house is full of folk the hot water heater and furnace are in operation and somebody is cooking, people in all the bathrooms, fans on, and maybe mom is in the garage painting and has the fan on.  If someone open the door to the CAZ zone it could cause spillage or flame roll-out.

    Well the dhw (domestic hot water) failed worst case, so I set it back to "natural conditions" (turned off fans).  I had to set the dhw to pilot, I accidently turned it off and so I went to light it back to pilot and THEN BAM

    5-7inch fireball brushed by me.  I sort of lost my calm, mainly due to the fact it was a sealed combustion hwh and so no part of me expected that to happen. In hindsight I realized it must be that propane leak.

    I seriously had a hard time concentrating the rest of the test but I did finish everything.  I was sure I had failed and as trying to figure out how I could get 200 dollars and time to take the test again. My company did agree to pay for the test but if I failed i felt a personal responsibility to pay my myself.

    I was so ecstatic when I found ot I passed.  Now I have my certifiacte and my patch. Energy effiency has a cozy place in my heart for sure.



    About me

    I'm a 20-something Southern girl living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've been working in the wild and wacky world of non-profit green construction in one way or the other for over 3 years. I'm also the owner of Oakland's own Engineered Cupcake.