Game Changer: How Air Sealing is Impacting New ConstructionSamantha Bezich
Higher quality, energy-efficient homes are becoming the industry standard, thanks in part to air leakage requirements for new construction projects. In fact, air sealing is quickly becoming one of the most critical components in creating a high-performance home.
During the 2021 Builder’s Show, IBSx, Mark LaLiberte, president of Construction Instruction, detailed the air sealing process to help building and engineers rethink their build to achieve high performance on a standard budget.
Evolving Your Build
As zero energy and zero-defect buildings move from a fantasy to a feasible goal for even production builders, understanding how air leakage and air barriers work is critical due to their impact on building performance and energy usage.
The biggest challenge to creating zero energy and zero-defect buildings by 2030 is also its primary instruction. And it can be summed up in a single word: change.
Many different strategies must be considered in order to meet these specific goals. Change is commonly seen as an issue, creating more complex buildings and more steps to building them. But change can also yield a simpler, more cost-effective approach to reaching your goals.
“Change is essential for you to build more high-performance homes.”
— Mark LaLiberte
And as homeowners are spending more and more time in their home, using it as a school and an office, air quality and energy efficiency are becoming an expectation. Builders must respond with a more efficient, more comfortable home – without a big increase in cost.
Are We Building Houses Too Tight?
Air sealing discussions in the construction industry often lead to a concern that a home can be sealed too tightly and create poor ventilation issues. But a home’s mechanical systems are designed to ensure proper ventilation and air quality. Relying on random leaks and holes in the building envelope to provide ventilation isn’t a reliable strategy. In fact, it only creates other issues, including moisture control.
Building a house with 3 ACH or lower improves several elements of home performance, increasing the home’s durability.
- Energy Efficiency
- Comfort Control
- Sound and Odor Mitigation
- HVAC Design Assistance
- Insect and Dust Reduction
- Moisture Control
Simply put, air barriers must be installed between conditioned and unconditioned spaces.
Eliminate Air Sealing Unknowns
The Department of Energy conducted a study using the AeroBarrier air sealing technology to air seal a home and determine the best stage(s) of construction for air sealing and other steps that can be eliminated when using AeroBarrier.
They found that the AeroBarrier process is more effective and convenient than conventional sealing methods. It requires less time to seal more leakage and can create homes that are:
- 73% tighter than average homes
- 79% less leaky
- 56% than using open-cell spray foam
AeroBarrier eliminates the unreliable, manual steps from air sealing and provides verification of airtightness AeroBarrier is an automatic, cost-effective approach that offers timely results, providing verification of the air-tightness that has been achieved. Builders across the country, including Mandalay Homes, have incorporated AeroBarrier into their standard build as more production builders aim for zero-energy homes in the next few years.
“Today’s homeowner deserves a great, high-performance house
and we can build them cost-effectively with AeroBarrier.”
— Mark LaLiberte
Check out Mark LeLiberte’s 2021 IBSx Air Sealing Presentation below. And click here to download the FREE Construction Instruction mobile app.