Tightest Residential Building: Dillingham house sets world record
Dillingham, AK, USA -- Dr. Tom Marsik and Kristin Donaldson, University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus, designed and built an extremely energy efficient house with the air-tightness of 0.05 Air Changes per Hour (ACH) at the differential pressure of 50 pascals – setting the new world record for the Tightest Residential Building, according to the World Record Academy: www.worldrecordacademy.com/.
Photo: Husband and wife Tom Marsik and Kristin Donaldson have built the most airtight house on the planet. Photo by Tom Marsik for WRA (enlarge photo)
The Guinness world record for the Tallest residential building was set by Princess Tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,which is 413.4 m (1,356 ft) high and has 101 storeys above ground, dedicated to residential use.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the Largest solar powered building, set by an office building in Dezhou, Shangdong province, China, that meets almost all of its energy needs with its solar-panelled roof. The building covers 75,000 m2 (807,000 ft2) and contains research facilities, display areas and a hotel.
The air-tightness of buildings is measured by performing a blower door test, in which the building is depressurized to 50 pascals less than the outside environment and the flow needed to maintain this differential pressure is measured.
The flow is then compared to the volume of the building to express how many times per hour the whole volume of the building is exchanged.
Dr. Marsik is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Energy at the UAF Bristol Bay Campus. Both his professional and personal lives are dedicated to sustainable energy.
"The main purpose of this world record is to help bring attention to energy efficient buildings and efficiency in general," Marsik said.
"I believe energy is one of the most important issues in today's world and energy efficiency is a key part of the solution. The more awareness we can raise, the more people will be encouraged to save energy and resources for future generations."
Photo: Performing blower door test, photo by Kristin Donaldson for WRA (enlarge photo)
His wife, Kristin Donaldson, added that "an important part of the solution is not just technology, but lifestyle choice. Our small but cozy home is a reflection of this choice."
The official blower door test was performed on March 6, 2013. One of the witnesses was Alice Ruby, City of Dillingham Mayor.
Another one was Gorden Isaacs, Building Analyst Professional with a national certification from the Building Performance Institute. He performed the blower door test, and pointed at the reading on the screen, announcing: "Our air changes per hour at 50 pascals are calculated at 0.05. That is phenomenally low."
Shaking his head, he then added: "I knew you did a fantastic job in sealing this house, but I don't know how you got it that tight. It's waaay waaay tighter than anything I have ever tested before."
Photo: Results showing 0.05 ACH @ 50 Pa, photo by Tom Marsik for WRA (enlarge photo)
Marsik and Donaldson's house is not just extremely tight, it is also extremely insulated. One of the key features is its 28" thick walls. The house was modeled after an experimental structure known as the "Passive Office," which is an educational tool developed by the UAF Bristol Bay Campus Sustainable Energy Program.
It demonstrates an advanced green building technique developed specifically for this purpose – super tight and super insulated buildings.
Key Energy Features
# Small size (2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom)
# 28" thick walls
# Extremely tight building envelope (<0.1 ACH50)
# Majority of needed heat comes from internal heat gains (byproduct heat from lighting and appliances, body heat, passive solar gain)
# Heat that needs to be supplied from a heat source corresponds to about 35 gal of heating oil annually Photo: Dr. Tom Marsik and Kristin Donaldson holding the world record certificate from WRA. "Both pictures show the thick wall of our house demonstrating it is an extremely efficient building." (enlarge photo)
This world record blower door test shows that this technique can truly be used to achieve an extremely tight building envelope.
In fact, the air flow needed to maintain the differential pressure of 50 pascals was only 5 cubic feet per minute, which is significantly below the calibrated range of a standard blower door. Because of this, The Energy Conservatory (the blower door manufacturer) made a specialized tool for measuring this very low air flow, and donated it to the project.
"Gary Nelson, co-founder of The Energy Conservatory and a pioneer of blower door testing, was very supportive of this world record attempt," said Dr. Tom Marsik.
Many organizations and individuals contributed to the design and construction of this extremely efficient house.
"We couldn't have done this alone and are very grateful for all the support that we received," Marsik and Donaldson said.
Photo: Dr. Tom Marsik and Kristin Donaldson holding the world record certificate from WRA. "Both pictures show the thick wall of our house demonstrating it is an extremely efficient building." (enlarge photo)
Organizations and individuals who had a meaningful contribution in constructing the house and/or performing the world record blower door test: Organizations:
- UAF Bristol Bay Campus
- The Energy Conservatory
- Alaska Building Science Network
- Cold Climate Housing Research Center
- Alaska West Supply
- Dillingham Builders
- Bristol Bay Housing Authority
# William Donaldson
# Gorden Isaacs
# Chet Chambers
# Fergus Hickling
# Gary Nelson
# Tonya Kelley
# Dave Northup
# Adam Kane
# Mike Favors
# Alice Ruby
# Dagen Nelson
# Kent Winship
# Jack Brown
# Tran Smyth
# Mike Davis
# Todd & Michele Radenbaugh
# Paul Liedberg
# Rick Lind
# Bryan Reed
# Jiri Marsik
# Russell Nelson
# Anthony Jett
# Debi McLean
# and many others …