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  1. #1
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    Default inspecting Enertia homes

    Has anyone had experience with inspecting an energy sufficient kit house Enertia?

    In Enertia homes (Enertia Building system) an air flow runs from the basement to the roof around the building, just inside the walls - creating a miniature biosphere. It's a house inside a house.

    Would this air flow create a potential fire hazard?


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: inspecting Enertia homes

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ottowitz View Post
    Would this air flow create a potential fire hazard?
    Yes.

    That's a quick way to burn a house down ... create a contained *and intended* "chimney effect" between two walls ... and that is just what you will get.

    That area would need to be fully sprinklered with smoke and heat detectors placed strategically with that space and which would automatically activate the sprinkler system to have any chance of survival for the occupants.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: inspecting Enertia homes

    It sounds to me like some tests need to be made. Because what you guys are saying is completely different from what Enertia claims on their website.
    They make the point that the flammability of a solid wood wall is very different from a stick-built wall.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: inspecting Enertia homes

    Q. ISN'T THE ENVELOPE AIR PATH A FIRE HAZARD?
    A. It would be if the house weren't made of solid wood. Heavy timbers have an ignition point far above that of framing lumber, and burn-through times that far exceed a stick-frame wall. Timbers tend to char and insulate themselves from further damage. In fact, a solid wood house is considered Heavy Timber or "Mill" construction, and subject to insurance rates that are less than conventional stick-frame homes.

    This is all I can find on their site on the subject.
    I would think there would have to be a special exemption granted for homes constructed in this fashion since anything over one story would violate the fire stopping at the ceiling required in conventional construction.
    Notice that the site only says it does not burn as fast or as easily as framing lumber. They still acknowledge the design "would be a fire hazard" except for the solid wood.

    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 05-06-2009 at 05:18 PM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: inspecting Enertia homes

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Cooper View Post
    It sounds to me like some tests need to be made. Because what you guys are saying is completely different from what Enertia claims on their website.
    They make the point that the flammability of a solid wood wall is very different from a stick-built wall.
    Two things need to be considered, one is the flammability, the other is stopping the fire once it ignites.

    Heavy timber, if that is indeed what those are classed as, do treat fireblocking and firestopping differently, however, what they are saying is that you one one house within another house, and while *EACH* house may be treated differently if it is heavy timber construction ... THE SPACE ... *between* those two houses creates a non-fireblocked, non-firestopped chimney effect which will actually encourage the spread of that fire ONCE STARTED.

    You are correct "Because what you guys are saying is completely different from what Enertia claims on their website." - WE are talking about stopping a fire once started, THEY are talking about the fire *not starting AS SOON*, but ... *once the fire has started* ... and that is an issue they are not addressing that issue at all.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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