California Office Building Renovation Meets Duct Leakage Specification Using Aeroseal
Engineers Go from Hoping to Knowing the Shattuck Office Building Renovation Meets California’s Duct Sealing Codes Working with Local Aeroseal Crew.
With days to go before the new tenants were scheduled to move in to their freshly renovated office building in downtown Berkeley, California, engineers learned that none of the newly installed ductwork was passing the local duct sealing codes. All of the ducts in the first of the two-phase project had been manually sealed with mastic before being mounted into place.
When testing showed excessive leakage in all the newly installed ductwork, teams of hand-sealers – seven men on four different floors, were brought in to reseal – first with mastic and then, when that failed, with tape. Limited space around the ducts made access difficult. Newly framed walls made duct removal impossible. It was three weeks of resealing, testing, failing, and then resealing again before the crews were able to adequately seal the leaks by hand.
Project Brief Points
- Building: Shattuck Office Building
- Location: Berkely, California
- Engineer: Arup Group Limited
- Aeroseal Contractor: Air Seal Solutions Corp.
- Goal: Meet 5% duct leakage specification for building renovation project
- Before Aeroseal: 3,317 Avg. CFM of leakage per section
- After Aeroseal: 178 Avg. CFM of leakage per section
- Results: Sealed ductwork to 95% leakage reduction; Achieved duct sealing code compliance for construction project
When it came to phase two of the project, the general contractor agreed that it was time to try Aeroseal, an aerosol-based computer-controlled duct sealant that works from the inside of the ducts. It alleviates problems associated with finding, accessing, and effectively sealing all the leaks. The computer-controlled sealing system monitors the sealing progress in real-time, eliminating any guesswork as to its success. Air Seal Solutions Corp., the TAB experts on the project, was also an Aeroseal contractor near the local area too. After a review of the process, the company was given the final go-ahead to give the technology a try.
The ductwork for the remaining three floors of the building was simply installed and then aerosealed right from the start. No manual sealing at all. It took Air Seal Solutions just a few days to seal all of the newly installed ductwork. One application and the ducts tested well below the 5% leakage rate demanded by the building code. The Aeroseal system automatically generated a Certificate of Completion showing the results.
In the end, Aeroseal proved easier, faster, less expensive and much more effective at getting the job done. Thanks to Aeroseal the building easily passed inspection and opened ahead of schedule.
Art Vegas, Mechanical Contractor Arves Mechanical: “Especially when there is time pressure to get the job done, Aeroseal is the answer. The process is fast and effective and unlike with mastic, you don’t have to wait for anything to dry. The results are immediate. You also don’t have to guess whether or not you got the leaks. The computer-controlled process shows you the results as it happens. The documentation that the system created provided the immediate proof we needed for the city inspector as well.”
Nigel Marcussen, PE CEng, Arup Group Limited: “Aeroseal proved to be the right solution, particularly for sealing ductwork where leaks were hard to access. Since it works from the inside to seal, it also provided a better alternative to mastic and tape when exposed ductwork made aesthetics an issue. I had initial concern that the Aeroseal process would coat the entire interior of the ductwork. It didn’t.”
Jim Gustamantes, Controls Technician, Trane: “I was skeptical that the Aeroseal method would actually find and seal the leaks — but it did. At the same time, it didn’t have any negative effect on the VAV equipment installed inside the ductwork.”