Pitot meet Android

Using a Pitot tube to balance a typical residential HRV install is like making sausages; you don’t want to know what kind of assumptions went in to making that number and yes, as discussed in our previous blog, we at BGG are trying our best to produce more robust numbers than what this simple device invented in 1732 by Henri Pitot.

When in the field, sometimes life throws you lemons and all you can produce is  sausage! As unpleasant as using a Pitot tube in a confined space can be, I made a pleasant discovery the other day when I stumbled across Dwyer ‘s Android App (click on link below). This simple app with no baggage (and it free) takes the tediousness out of converting pressure in a multi-step calculation to determine air flow. Thank you Dwyer!

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BGG published in Home Energy Magazine: ACIN Balometer Review

As you know, BGG has just invested in what the world-over sees as the pinnacle in air flow measuring tools; the ACIN Flow Finder Mk 2. As we dive headlong into the commissioning of ventilation systems, we felt there had to be a better way to measure air flow and with this tool we’re developing a more sophisticated process for not only balancing air flows in and out of the house but also adjust flows room by room so the intended design gets realized for optimal health and comfort.


“It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied

with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject permits

and not to seek exactness where only an approximation of the truth is possible.”



We were the first to review the device and publish the article in the venerable Home Energy Magazine’s November 2014 issue (see link below) and so far so good on the instrument front, but as Aristotle points out above, sometimes, extreme accuracy comes with extreme frustration as the accounting of precise air flows doesn’t add up. Needless to say, we’re leaving no stone unturned and using all manner of testing apparatus to measure air flows. Keep posted to find out if we crack this nut or if we throw our hands up and admit the nature of the subject only need the humble garbage bag test and a Pitot tube!


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CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti Tackles Modern Architecture

Big thanks to Anna for getting the ball rolling on ‘Starchitects’ and the buildings they saddle society with. Guest architects Don Schmitt and Lloyd Alter suggest that good architecture fits in the community and the climate where the buildings get built in – something Starchitect like Gehry throw under the bus in favour of flare. Whereas guest Elsa Lam seems to think there’s more room for experimentation in architecture – clearly, she didn’t read Faulty Tower, Adele Weder’s stinging review for the Museum of Human Rights being built in Manitoba. All agreed that in 40 years or less, the high rises being built will have to be re-built (Lloyd suggests in 15 years) for either efficiency or because they aren’t beautiful.

Have a listen to this important piece on The Current.


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Hammer & Hand: Best Prectices Guide

Sam Hagerman and Daniel Thomas, the visionary owners of the design-build firm Hammer and Hand based in Portland Oregon, have taken the bold step of sharing the company’s manual of best building practices. Yes, these are details that are for a milder wetter cliemate, but still hold gems for Ontario.

“We’re launching this section of our site in the spirit of collaboration,” co-owner Sam Hagerman wrote. “The details contained within have been developed through extensive in-the-dirt experience and informed by our building science training and research. They’re details that we have found combine durability, performance, and constructability in our Pacific Northwest climate.” writes Scott Gibson of GBA.

Click on the link below to have a look at this marvelous set of beautifully illustrated instructions for all to use, adapt and improve.

Thanks you Hammer and Hand, your generosity will help us build significantly better buildings!



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Design Meets Boots was Awesome!

On October 8th, BGG hosted a networking session for architects and builders to come together and share their insights and experience with the audience of just over 50 of the most cutting edge architects, builders and building consultants south western Ontario has to offer. It was like the brain trust for the future of high performance building and we were humbled and honoured to hear them talk!

At the core of the event was an invitation to all high performance building practitioners to come together to accelerate design and construction practices that make our buildings more resilient, healthy and less of a burden on the environment. Ultimately, its about increasing profitability of building high performance by learning and doing what’s right.

Of course it wasn’t all work, the beer, sparkling wine and nibbles were an equally powerful draw that allowed these esteemed professionals to swap war stories and start collaborative relationships that help these vital SMEs to burgeon.

The evening kicked of with Passive House builder Ed Marion of Passive House Ontario. Based out of Oakville, Ontario, Ed proves time and again that powerful envelope design means you can have a “furnace-less room” and live comfortably with air source heat pumps.



Hot on Ed’s heels was Steven Gray of Greening Homes who’s probably produced the most air tight retrofit of a solid masonry home in Canada. Congrats to Greening Homes on the amazing detailing.



Architect Tom Knezic gave an incredibly insightful review of Solares’ Deep Energy Retrofit of a double brick 100 year old home in Toronto. With charm and wit, Tom closed by giving his honest assessment of what he’d do differently next time – it was good to hear.



Architect Terrell Wong closed the night with her David and Goliath battle with Toronto City Hall. Even with the precedent set by the city building a straw bale building in High Park, it seems no one else would get a permit… until David came to town…


Again, we can’t thank our two event sponsors enough; if we have seen far it is because we have stood on your shoulders! Thank you Solares Architecture and Passive Buildings Canada:

PBC Clear Logo Solares Transparent


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Joel Pett

Thank you Joel Pitt: