Marriott Hotel Atlanta Enhances HVAC System Using AerosealBrad Brenner
This story was published in HPAC Engineering in December 2016.
Until recently, sealing leaky ventilation shafts (a.k.a. air ducts or ductwork) has been a non-starter for most commercial buildings across the country. The expensive and disruptive demolition typically involved in finding, accessing, and sealing those leaks using hand sealing (e.g. mastic, tape) made remediation measures impractical at best. As a result, most buildings in the U.S. today are plagued by the poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy efficiency issues associated with duct leakage. Thanks to Aeroseal, contractors have a simple, non-intrusive solution, in the form of an aerosol-based computer-controlled duct sealing method that seals leaks with more confidence and more cost-effectively than hand sealing alone.
- Building: JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead
- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- Aeroseal Contractors: Aeroseal Southeast
- Goal: Improve building exhaust. Minimize disruption
- Before Aeroseal: 4,670 CFM of leakage (total)
- After Aeroseal: 553 CFM of leakage
- Results: Reduced leakage by approximately 88%; guests were unaware of the remediation work being conducted
Marriot Atlanta project uses Aeroseal to seal the ductwork.
While the JW Marriott hotel in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead district has always been a model of elegance and luxury, owners of the 28 year-old building continued to struggle with HVAC issues associated with the air leaks in the air ducts. Inadequate exhaust led to musty odors that plagued the building for years. With long ventilation shafts embedded behind the building’s structure, accessing and repairing the problem had proven to be logistically and economically impossible.
A consultant brought in to evaluate the situation found that exhaust levels differed substantially from floor to floor. Top floors received the full 40 CFM of exhaust they were designed to pull, while bottom floors received only 5 CFM or less. Here’s what the consultant recommended: start by cleaning and sealing each of the ten 23-story ventilation shafts running down the length of the building.
Searching for a duct sealing solution, the hotel engineers learned about Aeroseal duct sealing and decided it was the right choice for the job. “We looked at several options and the aeroseal technology stood out as being the most economical and non-intrusive process,” said Frank Atkins, the hotel’s director of engineering.
The call went out to the experts at Aeroseal Southeast (a.k.a. MediClean), a commercial duct cleaning and sealing service provider. The Aeroseal Southeast team guaranteed they could do the work with minimal disruption to the building and normal hotel operations. All sealing was done on Mondays (the hotel’s quietest day), and guests were strategically booked into rooms away from the ventilation shafts being sealing that day.
Once the Aeroseal crew prepped and set up their equipment, it took only about one hour to seal each shaft. Using his own testing equipment, the hotel’s lead engineer confirmed what the computer-controlled Aeroseal system indicated: average leakage was reduced from 397 CFM down to 62 CFM. During the entire process, few if any guests were even aware that such a significant remediation process was taking place. And in the end, indoor air quality was improved, and the HVAC system was more energy-efficient.
“Sealing the ductwork using Aeroseal proved to be a significant aide in improving the overall ventilation of the building,” said Atkins. “I think it’s a good technology, and it proved to be a key component of the overall strategy used to solve our ventilation issues.”