PORTLAND, Ore. - The Earth Advantage Institute and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) have announced the availability of the “Ducts Inside” online training course, a free self-paced tutorial that the organizations say instructs builders, designers, and HVAC professionals on how to reduce home energy use by 15 to 20 percent by keeping all ducting within the conditioned space of new homes.

For years, a common practice in new home building has been to locate HVAC ducts and air handlers in unconditioned spaces. The training, which can be completed in about three hours, provides six strategies and instruction on the best practices for installing the ductwork within the conditioned space. Professionals who complete the online course will receive a certificate of attendance for continuing education or American Institute of Architects (AIA) learning units.

Besides creating homes that save energy and save money for the homeowner, say the organizations, by putting the ducts within the conditioned space, builders can use downsized HVAC systems and simpler, shorter duct systems that can be faster and less expensive to install. Additionally these practices offer systems that are easier to inspect and that provide an attractive path to Energy Star® certification and to meeting evolving code requirements. The builder may also qualify for higher utility incentives and tax credits.

“From an energy efficiency perspective, installing ductwork through an unconditioned attic or crawlspace makes about as much sense as running ducts outside a window and into the next room,” said Bruce Sullivan, green building consultant with Earth Advantage Institute. “The added benefit of this course is that it teaches skillful implementation of ductwork that may actually reduce construction costs for builders.”

The different strategies include open web floor trusses, insulated attic trusses, conditioned attics, inverted soffits, dropped soffits, and conditioned basements.

Builders, architects, and HVAC professionals can visit www.ductsinside.org to sign up for the online training. The training is free for those who register before July 31.

Publication date:07/25/2011