This Weatherization Field Guide outlines a set of best practices for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Weatherization experts collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) developed the Standard Work Specifications (SWS) beginning in 2009. These new SWS standards reside online in NREL’s SWS Tool.
The SWS presents required specifications and outcomes for weatherization measures when a weatherization agency selects a weatherization measure, based on its cost effectiveness. The technical content of this guide aligns with the SWS requirements as updated by November of 2020.
A major purpose of this guide is to show how its contents are aligned with the SWS. Therefore, we’ve inserted hypertext references to the specific SWS details that aligns to our content. When you click on one of these references, the relevant detail appears in your browser.
This guide also incorporates information from a variety of other standards and specifications including these.
• Building Performance Institute’s (BPI’s) relevant standards
• International Residential Code
• Standards for combustion systems by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), including NFPA 54, 31, and 211.
• Michigan Residential Code
• Michigan Energy Code
If a local agency is required to follow a local ordinance, that ordinance supersedes the guidance in the Weatherization Field Guide.
We begin this guide with health and safety, an important topic for both workers and clients. The first part of the chapter discusses client health and safety. The last part of the chapter covers worker health and safety.
Next, the guide presents a chapter on energy auditing, inspecting, work-orders, and client relations. The following chapter discusses insulation and air sealing materials and their characteristics. Next we present four chapters on the four distinct parts of the building envelope: attics and roofs; walls; floors and foundations; and windows and doors. Much of the content for these chapters is relevant to multifamily buildings as well as single-family buildings.
The guide’s largest chapter is heating and cooling. This chapter contains a lot of information that is as relevant for multifamily buildings as for single-family buildings.
We created a separate chapter on ventilation that follows heating and cooling, which includes whole-house ventilation, local ventilation, attic and crawl-space ventilation, and ventilation for cooling.
We’ve included a dedicated chapter on manufactured (mobile) homes where we discuss the energy-conservation measures (ECMs) particular to mobile homes. In this chapter, we often reference other sections of the guide that contain information that’s relevant to both mobile homes and site-built homes.
The last chapter’s topic, Air Leakage Diagnosis, is a tool for weatherization agencies to guide cost-effective air sealing. This chapter doesn’t align to the SWS because the SWS doesn’t specify testing procedures.
Like the SWS, this field guide is a living document and a work-in-progress. The field guide changes as the SWS changes. We hope you find this guide authoritative, easy to use, and well aligned to the SWS. We welcome all comments, suggestions, and criticism.
Thanks for your hard work and dedication in implementing the Weatherization Assistance Program.