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Game Changing Study Finds Aeroseal a Cost-Effective Solution for Duct Leakage in Commercial Buildings

Historically, duct leakage has often been viewed as a performance issue rather than an energy efficiency issue. Not anymore! As noted in a recent Building Solutions blog post, duct leakage is actually the Number 1 culprit when it comes to energy waste in commercial buildings. The growing recognition of duct leakage as a major cause of HVAC energy waste provided the impetus for a study on retrofit duct sealing conducted by the Center for Energy Efficiency (CEE) in Minnesota.

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This four-year study and pilot project had several phases, beginning with the characterization and measurement of duct leakage in several types of Minnesota commercial and institutional (C&I) buildings. In the next phase, a subset of the C&I duct systems were sealed using both conventional and aerosol sealing methods. Finally the estimated energy savings and cost effectiveness of retrofit sealing measures were analyzed in order to develop screening criteria to identify cost-effective duct sealing opportunities.

The recently released study findings confirm that duct leakage in existing buildings has emerged as a new energy savings opportunity.  In fact, about 10% to 15% of Minnesota C&I buildings were found to have appropriate operational characteristics and leakage rates that are high enough to justify retrofit duct sealing work with a moderate to good payback of less than 7 years. In addition, the study found that duct sealing from the inside using the aerosol sealing method was effective in a variety of scenarios, often reducing leakage effectively to zero including:

  • Initially tight and leaky ductwork
  • Supply and exhaust ductwork
  • Upstream and downstream ductwork

For more information about this project and its findings, please sign up for an informational webinar on Thursday, May 18th, at 12pm EDT, titled: Game Changer: Cost-Effective Duct Leakage Reduction in Large Commercial Buildings. Senior research engineer Josh Quinnell will be on hand to provide an in-depth look at study findings, including duct leakage characteristics in commercial and institutional buildings, retrofit duct sealing efficacy, the significant potential for cost-effective energy savings, and greater operational control of building HVAC systems. Register Now.

The Center for Energy and Environment conducts technology and market assessments to identify tomorrow’s best clean energy strategies. This retrofit duct leakage study was conducted for the benefit of Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) with funding from the Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.

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