BPA Open Community

 View Only

Dust-control Strategies for Energy Upgrades

  • 1.  Dust-control Strategies for Energy Upgrades

    BPA Staff Member
    Posted 27 days ago
    Completing weatherization and home performance upgrades can be dirty work. Add the challenges of being in occupied homes, and you have one of the toughest jobs in the industry! The type of dust created during energy upgrades ranges from a substantial nuisance to a documented hazard, like lead or even asbestos. Program and regulatory compliance (OSHA, EPA, and so on) is often thought of as the primary reason to work safely and control dust, but customer and worker safety are equally important. The good news is that with a little planning and the right tools, you can overcome the many dust-control challenges facing today's installer and clearly set yourself apart from the competition.

    The Benefits of Dust Control

    Effective dust control can increase jobsite efficiency by reducing cleanup time and can protect workers and occupants while improving the quality of your work and your organization's level of customer service.

    Reducing dust and protecting a home's flooring can make a lasting positive impression on your customers. Imagine two contractors preparing to install sidewall insulation from the interior by drilling holes on the inside of a home. One drills the holes with little to no floor covering, allowing a fine layer of dust to cling to every object in the room. The other carefully constructs a barrier wall from floor to ceiling, protects the floor with plastic sheeting, and uses a shroud attached to a HEPA vacuum while drilling the holes, limiting the amount of dust in the room.

    Which one would you choose? Which one would you refer to a neighbor or consider a "professional"? As a quality assurance inspector, I have interviewed customers on the receiving end of both scenarios and, as you may have guessed, the ones whose contractors practiced dust control were far more satisfied with the job.

    Working safe to reduce dust hazards is not only the right thing to do, it's sometimes the law. Homes built before 1978, which contain lead paint, and older homes with asbestos mixed into the wall plaster or drywall compound pose safety hazards for which there are additional requirements.

    The work practices described in this article are general practices; they do not provide a step-by-step protocol for meeting each state or program's lead and asbestos rules. Check with your state health department and program funder to ensure that your work practices are following OSHA, EPA, and the Standard Work Specifications (SWS) required by the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) before you embark on a renovation project.

    Customers need to know that their family will be safe when a contractor weatherizes their home. Read on to learn from those who have spent decades in the field developing creative and cost-effective methods for weatherizing homes while complying with related safety rules.

    Continue reading on the eJournal.

    Macie Melendez
    Editor in Chief, Building Performance eJournal
    Building Performance Association
    Moon Township PA