Victoria School Retrofit
Victoria School in Woodstock, ON is a historical building that was first opened in 1910. In early 2018, the Oxford City Council approved a new housing project that would see Victoria School converted to affordable and market housing, as well as the construction of a three-storey addition to the back of the school in order to properly accommodate all apartments.
As part of the conversion, goals were set for the existing building to achieve improved energy performance exceeding the Ontario Building Code requirements by more than 50%. The new, rear addition to the existing school was designe to reach Passive House energy standards, and feature a roof-mounted solar panel system to supply energy to the building whenever possible.
As an ambitious conversion targeting Passive House energy standards for portions of the building, airtightness testing is a crucial component of the renovation. Barrier Sciences Group assisted the building ownership group Filtec Screens Inc. in their renovation process by providing blower door airtightness testing at various points of the renovation retrofit. In combination with spray foam insulation installed by Great Northern Insulation, the renovation project was able to succeed in both surpassing the Ontario Building Code energy performance requirements by over 50% and achieving the Passive House energy standards for the new addition construction.
A blower door airtightness test carried out by an accredited energy advisor determines a building’s airtightness by depressurizing the entire building in order to measure the building’s Air Changes Per Hour (ACH). A building’s ACH score refers to how much indoor air volume is being exchanged with external air volume every hour through air leakage pathways within the building envelope. Properly measuring ACH reveals exactly how much air infiltration or exfiltration is occurring, and can identify specific problem areas. Many energy standards, government rebate programs, or EnerGuide tests require a certain ACH rating score in order to qualify.
The German-designed Passive House energy standard requires an ACH50 of 0.6 or less, which is considerably lower than the Net Zero Ready energy standard requirement of ACH 1.0 and far lower than the present building code requirement range of ACH 2.5-3.5. Achieving this goal on the newly-constructed addition to the back of Victoria School is an impressive achievement.
Whether you need to ensure a successful conversion project, are completing a home renovation, or just curious as to the ACH score for your existing home, an airtightness test from Barrier Sciences Group is a worthwhile investment for any home or business owner.