September 15, 2022

Community Housing Partners (CHP) recently used cutting-edge technology while restoring a historic home in downtown Blacksburg, Virginia. The CHP Homeownership team, which acquired the house several years ago as part of an ongoing partnership with the Town of Blacksburg, has implemented a new air sealing process during the renovation project.

According to Michael George, Project Manager for CHP Homeownership, energy efficiency is a primary focus for any CHP project but achieving a high level of performance combined with a historic restoration poses a significant challenge. “As is often the case when working on historic structures, the exterior of the house has to remain intact, significantly limiting options for air sealing,” George said.

This is certainly true of the house located at 302 Progress Street, which is at the corner of Progress Street and Harding Avenue and just one block from Blacksburg’s Main Street. Also known as the Ray Albert House, this home was built in the 1920s and acquired by CHP in 2019. To seal the house as tight as possible, CHP used AeroBarrier, a relatively new process. AeroBarrier uses a proprietary aerosolized adhesive to seal the entire house from the inside out.

First the house is pressurized using a standard blower door, then a liquid sealant is sprayed into the air, creating a fine mist that fills the house. The AeroBarrier sealant sticks to the leaking air and seals the gaps. Within a few hours the air leakage level of the house was reduced by nearly 80%, a level that meets current EarthCraft code standards.

The Progress Street home is one of several residences that CHP Homeownership has purchased and renovated in a desirable Blacksburg neighborhood to increase homeownership opportunities for income-qualified homebuyers. The restored house will be for sale in the future as one of the first houses in the New River Home Trust, a new program to provide a permanent stock of affordable homes in the Town of Blacksburg and Montgomery County.