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3rd party verification and testing is the heart of high quality, high performance construction


LEED for Homes requires a 3rd party that is independent of both the USGBC and the builder/developer to inspect,  test and verify that the design, implementation and quality meets the exacting LEED standards.  This independent 3rd party is called a “Green Rater” and is required to be a highly trained green building professional. 


The Green Rater does the following:


  • Verify we’ve installed what we we’ve designed and the plans show

  • Inspect the quality to ensure it meets the LEED standards for high performance building.

  • Test the mechanical and ventilation systems and building envelope 




Prior to construction, we submit plans showing our insulation selections, mechanical equipment selections, window and door performance and selections, appliances and lighting performance and selections plumbing finishes performance and more to the Green Rater.


The Green Rater verifies that we installed what we said we would.


Inspection for quality installation


The Green rater performs a pre-drywall inspection and checks: 

  • Insulation was installed properly: continuous, with no gaps

  • Air sealing in place

  • HVAC ducting clean inside and sealed outside 

  • Ducting installed property for bath and kitchen fans

  • Yard is sloped away from home

  • Exterior gaps and cracks are sealed

  • And much, much more...


Quality testing of mechanical system components and envelope...what other builders don't do... 


Did you know that builders are not required to test to see if what they’ve built works?  It’s true!  


As we and many homeowners know, sometimes in a new home things just don’t work.  True Turtle’s homes undergo rigorous testing.  Testing does three things:


  • verifies that everything works

  • verifies it works to required specifications or

  • verifies it works to a high level of performance


The value of performance testing is, without a doubt, a higher quality product delivered to a buyer.  No other builder provides this level of quality control or quality construction.  The value of this additional level of rigor by testing components and systems in a home cannot be overemphasized.



Rigorous performance testing ensures high quality for True Turtle homes


Ventilation system quality testing - we exceed the code requirements, ensuring air quality!


Bath fan testing

Our 3rd party verifier performs a hood test to verify that we meet the ASHRAE required 50 cfm per bath fan.  We always exceed that requirement.


Kitchen exhaust fan testing

Our 3rd party tester performs a hood test to verify that we meet the ASHRAE required 100 cfm per kitchen exhaust. We always exceed that requirement.


ERV testing

ERV’s have rated performance intake and exhaust parameters.  We always exceed those parameters to ensure proper performance.

Building envelope quality testing – we exceed the code requirements!


Blower door testing


There are many typical paths of travel where air can leak into and out of a home. A blower door test measures the overall leakage rate of all those points of entry.  This overall leakage rate of a home's envelope is an important indicator of it's performance and comfort.


The blower door test is performed by closing all windows and doors, sealing up the HVAC registers, and sealing returns.  A powerful fan pressurizes the building and the amount of air leakage that occurs is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). 


This rate is normalized by dividing it by the cubic feet of volume in a building and is expressed in ACH (air change rate) at 50 pascals of pressure or ACH50.


Code requirements for envelope leakage rates – new construction


Testing a building envelope is a new phenomenon in the building industry.  Only in the latest code cycle update has it become mandatory which most municipalities have not adopted yet.  


ICC 2012:  3.0 ACH50 mandatory testing for new construction (DC adopted this March 2014)  


ICC 2009:  7.0 ACH50 optional testing for new construction



True Turtle meets new construction air tightess requirements on 100 year old gut rehabs!


Turn of the century row homes are very drafty, leaky and uncomfortable.  It is not uncommon for a house to be so leaky that a blower door/air tightness test cannot even be completed.


There are many developers who perform gut renovations on rowhomes in DC.  The building code does not require a blower door test on extensive gut rehabs because they are not new construction.  So most developers continue to deliver highly energy inefficient, uncomfortable leaky homes to buyers.


Why do most developers deliver a poor quality product?  Because air sealing 100 year old brick and frame homes is technically very difficult.  


In contrast, True Turtle has consistently delivered homes with leakage rates below the required air leakage rates for NEW construction homes.

HVAC system quality installation testing – we’ve always exceeded the code requirements!


Duct leakage quality testing


The 3rd party green building professional test the leakage rate of the duct system.  The registers and returns are sealed and a powerful fan attached (shown above).  The amount of leakage is measured and given as a cubic feet per minute/100 sf of conditioned floor area.


We have routinely tested under 4% which is significantly under the 2009 code requirement of 12%.


Refrigerant pressure test quality verification     

The HVAC contractor tests and reports the pressure of the refrigerant in the HVAC system to the 3rdparty green building professional to ensure that it is with specification to assure efficient performance.




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