Catching the Cold Spots

"We noticed an immediate difference," said Richard, who used City Green Solutions to do a blower-door test before, and take thermographic images after. 

When Richard and Kim Linzey decided to increase their home's insulation, they chose to use blown-in cellulose, a recycled newsprint product that not only keeps the house toasty, but can also help deaden sound.

"We noticed an immediate difference," said Richard, who used City Green Solutions to do a blower-door test before, and take thermographic images after.

"With a thermographic image you can actually see where cold air is spilling in under a baseboard or beside a window. It looks like a big blue plume," he said.

"City Green found nine nasty cold spots," which would have led to condensation and potential mould, so Richard outlined them in tape and more insulation was blown in.

City Green's building energy analyst Torsten Ely, a civil engineer with extra training in thermal imaging, explained the company specializes in energy assessments and helps businesses and homeowners spend money wisely.

A blower-door test costs $150 for an initial assessment, and the same for follow-up. It involves a device that depressurizes buildings and shows where air is infiltrating.

Thermography (which costs $250 to $350) is more precise and can detect insulation deficiencies, air leaks, heat loss and moisture, Ely said.

"Often when we go back to homes for follow-up visits, residents tell us they are delighted not just with the money they are saving, but because the house is so much more comfortable.

Sometimes in an older house, there is a corner that's drafty and just doesn't feel right."

He explained, just as a cold drink develops drips of condensation when taken from the fridge into a warm room, so does a wall that lacks insulation. This leads to mould.

"It is sometimes relatively easy to detect condensation, if you can see or feel it. But the camera comes in handy when you cannot see it. It makes all these hidden deficiencies visible."

The non-profit company, founded in 1999, has 21 employees locally and a network of trained advisers throughout the province.