Building with Ducts in Conditioned Spaces

Hear builders share how they use specific approaches to reduce home energy use by 15-20%.

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Join BetterBuiltNW and Earth Advantage for this 2-hour online training designed to help builders, architects, designers and HVAC contractors in the Northwest learn how to design and build with ducts located inside a home's conditioned envelope. 

Designing and building homes where HVAC ducts and air handlers are located inside conditioned spaces can reduce energy use by 15 to 20%, compared to typical HVAC installations. Building with ducts inside also improves occupant comfort and can reduce construction costs when skillfully implemented.  

Participants of this online, self-paced training will analyze and be able to apply six different strategies for building with ducts inside: open web floor trusses, insulated attic trusses, conditioned attics, inverted soffits, dropped soffits and conditioned basements.

The training provides the opportunity to hear from builders about their specific strategies and approaches to bringing ducts inside, and includes access to resources such as CAD drawings, case studies, trade guidelines, implementation strategies, training manual, and more.
Benefits for Builders
Besides creating desirable homes that save energy and allow market differentiation, builders can use smaller heating systems and simpler, shorter duct systems that can be faster and less expensive to install. Additionally these practices offer systems that are easier to inspect and that provide an attractive pathway to various certification standards and to meeting evolving code requirements. The builder may also qualify for higher utility incentives and tax credits.

"From an energy efficiency perspective, installing ductwork through an unconditioned attic or crawlspace makes about as much sense as running ducts outside a window and into the next room," according to training instructor, Bruce Sullivan of Base Zero LLC.  "One of the primary benefits of this course is that it teaches skillful implementation of ductwork that may actually reduce construction costs for builders."

Benefits for Homeowners
Homeowners are able to rest assured knowing ducts are installed correctly and aren't inadvertently heating the outdoors, along with enjoying lower utility bills, a more comfortable home, better indoor air quality and reduced moisture risk. 
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Learning Objectives
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Attendees will:
  • Describe the benefits of building homes with ducts inside
  • Identify which members of the design and construction team need to be involved
  • Evaluate six different design approaches to building ducts inside
  • Explain general principles and best practices for each approach
  • Access additional resources to help contractors, subcontractors, architects and designers implement ducts inside

When & Where
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Online course available on-demand

On-demand training format consists of a series of 3-5 minute videos divided into sections. Users can start or stop their viewing at their own pace and easily resume the course at another time. Short quiz questions and activities will help you incorporate content covered in the videos.

CEs & Cost
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Continuing Education
BPI: 1 unit 
ICC: 0.2 CEs

Course Fee
No cost 
(Regularly $49) 

This training brought to you thanks in part to:

Questions? Contact or 503-968-7160 x60

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Architects, Builders/Contractors, Code Officials, Consultants, Developers, Program Representatives, Raters/Verifiers, Subcontractors

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Bruce Sullivan
Bruce Sullivan: Bruce operates Base Zero LLC to promote greater sustainability in residential construction through training, consulting and contractor services. He has been involved in energy efficient construction since 1983 and has been a primary training developer/instructor for Earth Advantage, Energy Trust of Oregon, BetterBuiltNW and EEBA. Bruce first taught the SHP program in 2008, and has since delivered it over a dozen times across Oregon. In 2006, Bruce built his personal home that earned the NAHB EnergyValue Housing and Green Building Awards. In 2015, Bruce completed construction on a new zero energy home.