New York Medical Building Improves HVAC Performance, Saves Energy Using AerosealVicki
The Aeroseal Turnkey Air Duct Services Crew Worked with ESCO/Facilities Staff to Improve HVAC Performance and Energy Efficiency for a New York State Medical Building.
A good energy services company (ESCO) is always on the lookout for innovative energy conservation measures (ECM) to save clients’ money, and they have a lot of measures to choose for any given project. Assessing operating budgets, reviewing overall building performance, and evaluating energy usage are just a few. Too often, ESCOs overlook duct sealing as an ECM. When in fact, sealing air leaks in ductwork not only improves energy efficiency with quick payback, it also services as a retro-comissioning measure (RCM) to improve the health, safety, compliance, and HVAC performance of building infrastructure.
That’s what was discovered recently at the New York State medical center. Aeroseal came to the center and conducted a preliminary analysis of the 100year-old+ facility. The facility manager was aware the hospital had airflow issues, and thus the potential for significant energy savings and improvement in HVAC performance. A big question was, how much savings would sealing the air duct system using Aeroseal deliver? And how viable would it be to do the work in a 24/7 hospital environment?
Luckily both of these questions were answered affirmatively, and the results were nothing short of outstanding.
- Building: New York State Medical Facility
- Location: New York, NY
- Aeroseal Contractor: Aeroseal, LLC
- Goal: Reduce duct leakage for substantial energy savings and better HVAC performance
- Before Aeroseal: 29,836 CFM of leakage
- After Aeroseal: 870 CFM of leakage
- Results: Seal ductwork to 97% leakage reduction; Save $22,694 in annual energy usage/costs
Ductwork in healthcare facilities nationwide have been sealed with Aeroseal to supporting unique vertical benefits such as efficiency, IAQ, and more.
Proprietary Energy Modeling
After an inspection of the ductwork and static pressure testing, the Aeroseal crew had the raw data it needed to make its energy savings and return on investment (ROI) estimations using the proprietary Aeroseal energy model. Watch the following Youtube video to see how our energy model works.
This video provides a brief, high-level overview the Aeroseal energy model used by ESCOs for IDIQ ESPC projects to advance energy efficiency in buildings worldwide.
The ESCO/facility management for this project highlighted how “the veracity of Aeroseal’s energy model and the leakage rates the project crew was able to obtain through the computer-controlled test-and-seal process gave us more confidence that the estimated savings would be on target. Watching the process, it was less about typical guesswork (associated with hand sealing) and more about experienced testing and extrapolations. It was backed up with a guarantee that we would get the level of ROI estimated by the final calculations.”
However, estimated energy savings was only half the battle. The duct sealing work also had to be performed safely with little to no disruption to the hospital’s day-to-day operations. After reviewing the patented Aeroseal process, including safety, longevity, results, and impact on their operations, hospital administrators gave the green light. The Aeroseal team constructed a plan of attack for the sealing five separate duct systems, and they consulted with hospital personnel every step along the way.
Staff from each unit involved knew when and where the work was taking place well in advance of any activity. They received continual updates throughout the project and were kept abreast of any new developments that might have arisen. Effective and ongoing communication with the administration and the facility managers as well as the staff was key to the project’s success.
Another big advantage to the Aeroseal approach is that it makes the entire duct system easy to access. Sealing from the inside-out eliminates the need to tear down walls, expose ceilings or tear off insulation in order to access the leaks. Not only does this account for the highly effective nature of Aeroseal compared to mastic/tape, it also eliminates the majority of disruptions associated with traditional duct sealing using hand sealing methods alone. Especially in ahospital environment, minimizing the risks associated with structural demolition was key.
Guaranteed, Verified Duct Sealing Results!
When the project was complete, Aeroseal provided facility management with the Aeroseal Certificate of Completion, a detailed report showing pre-seal and post-seal duct leakage. The pre-seal leakage rate of 29,836 CFM (cubic feet per minute) was reduced to 870 CFM (97% leakage reduction). Even better, the actual reduction was 4% greater than the originally modeled estimate. Using the Aeroseal certificate, the ESCO/facility manager was able to show his clients an annual cost savings of $22,694. This savings was based on reduced air loss and lower fan speeds that can occur after sealing ductwork using Aeroseal. Bonus, payback for this project was anticipated to be less than seven years.
RCM + ECM, A 2-in-1 Solution for ESCO Projects
Beyond ECM, Aeroseal proved to be a succcessful retro-commissioning measure (RCM) for this ESCO project too. The sealing process provided immediate improvements to the comfort level within the hospital. Doctors and other staff members commented on the improvement that Aeroseal made to ventilation and temperature control.
Here’s a brief testimonial from the ESCO/facility director for the project: “There were two primary things that made this project such a success. First, flexibility. The Aeroseal team knew they couldn’t just come in and shut down equipment or section off the hospital to get their work done. Second, was planning. The preparation put into this project before the sealing even began was extraordinary and reflected the team’s understanding of the special requirements demanded by this unique environment. All of the advantages of the technology itself, implemented by a team that understood and met the unique requirements of a hospital environment made this a tremendous success.”
Understanding the Impact of Duct Leakage in Buildings
Mom always scolded us not to leave the refrigerator door open (or we’d let all the cold out AND raise our electric bill). And everyone knows you should turn off the lights before you leave a room to save energy. But let’s magnify little house-based issues to the larger scope of commercial buildings. What do you think the top commercial building fault when it comes to energy waste/loss? The answer is clear: Duct Leakage.
Berkeley National Labs did a study of the Top Ten building faults by cost (Figure 1), and the faults you would expect are on the list – the lights and HVAC left on when the building is unoccupied, not balanced airflow, dampers not working, etc. However, duct leakage tops the list, with an estimated annual cost of over $2.9 billion per year (which is 53% more than the second most expensive fault).