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Nate Gusakov

Member Spotlight: Nate Gusakov

My career in the building trades started in high school in my hometown of Bristol, VT. For twenty-odd years I wore a belt as a frame-to-finish carpenter (with a couple trips around the world and a college degree in Sustainable Agriculture thrown in there for good measure). I began swinging a hammer for Silver Maple Construction in 2012 and five years later I began installing AeroBarrier and also received BPI certifications as a Building Analyst and Envelope Professional.

Hundreds and hundreds of blower door tests later I started my own company, Green Mountain Enclosure Consulting llc where I keep busy as a building envelope consultant and certified Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) provider, offering services including: design review; specification writing assistance; residential and commercial whole-building airtightness testing; qualitative thermal imaging; on-site progress testing and field verifications; envelope failure forensics; existing building envelope assessments; and building science teaching and presentations.

I’m a voting member of ASTM Committee E06 and am very happy to say that I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Vermont Green Building Network. I play the banjo sometimes, and hunt whenever I can.

Name: Nate Gusakov
Green Mountain Enclosure Consulting LLC
Bristol, VT

ABAA member for 2 years

What inspired you to pursue the Whole Building Airtightness Certification
Program with ABAA?

A: At least half of the work that I do involves whole building airtightness testing of municipal and commercial-scale buildings. Expanding my knowledge of, and familiarity with, the best practices and current test standards was less an inspiration than a necessity! I also have seen some confusion in my region about testing practices and metrics, so I wanted to make sure I came into those conversations armed with as much information as possible.

Share your insights from the certification program. What are your key takeaways?

A: I gained a big appreciation for the work that ABAA has done to help craft ASTM E3158. I think that Standard is really going to encourage more understanding in the industry about how to choose between the different underlying reasons and related procedures for whole building testing. 2. I have much more confidence looking at test results and interpreting how valid they likely are. 3. The class experience and resources have really upped my game when it comes to test planning, especially identifying and addressing HVAC-related testing issues.

How do you plan to apply the knowledge and skills gained in your professional work?

A. I’m already putting the new skills and understanding to work every day as I prepare for, conduct, and report on whole building tests.

Which parts of the certification program did you find most impactful?

A. Certainly getting to know other people who are doing the same work – there aren’t so many of us yet and it was really fun to hear about the experiences and challenges that everyone else is facing too. I also find the printed resources (sample test plans and reports, templates,etc) to be really valuable.

How will you promote the importance of whole building airtightness in your community?

A. I’m currently part of a statewide working group that is focused on enhancing energy code compliance in Vermont (including the already-mandatory airtightness testing); I also have given presentations in the past at a few regional
conferences and will continue to do so in the future. In addition, I maintain a position as a voting member of ASTM Committee E06 which is responsible for whole building airtightness testing standards.

What advice do you have for others considering ABAA certification?

A. It’s absolutely worth it if you are, or plan to be, conducting blower-door tests on large buildings!! (Be ready for a doozy of a certification test, though!)

How will you stay involved with ABAA beyond the certification program?

A. I’ll be attending the national conference in May in Reston, VA, and will also be presenting an ABAA webinar later this summer. I’m hoping to be involved with ABAA outreach and education in the Northeast region as the organization

Any additional insights about your certification experience or future goals in airtightness and building performance?

A. Long live the Red Door of Truth!!

April 25, 2024