Harvard University Girguis Lab

TYPE: Education

Sealing Leaky Ducts Reduces Fan Speed by 60%, Saving Energy and Increasing Indoor Comfort

When Harvard University’s newly installed HVAC equipment wasn’t delivering air according to system design, duct leakage was pinpointed as the issue. Aeroseal contractor Aspen Air Duct Cleaning was contacted to help during a renovation of Harvard’s Girguis Lab. Engineers had just installed a new 8,500 CFM air handling unit that was meant to supply heat to the biology lab and an adjacent facility. When the unit was brought online, however, its fan was operating close to 97% of capacity with little effect. It was determined that air leaks in the ductwork were reducing static pressure to such a degree that air couldn’t reach its destinations. With air ducts hidden under insulation and behind layers of pipes, sealing those leaks seemed an impossible task.

Project Overview
Building Harvard University Girguis Lab
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts
Aeroseal Contractors Aspen Air Duct Cleaning
Goal Improve HVAC performance of new equipment install
Before Aeroseal 5,800 CFM of leakage
After Aeroseal 429 CFM of leakage
Results Sealed air ducts to 98% reduction in leakage; Lowered HVAC fan speed by 60%, improving equipment performance

I would absolutely call this a project saver. Our only other option was to tear down walls and demolish the building structure in order to access the leaky ductwork. We were very pleased with the results and I honestly don’t know how we would have solved this issue if the Aeroseal technology wasn’t available.

John Hollister
Senior Capital Project Manager
Harvard University

The mechanical contractors knew Aeroseal duct sealing was needed. The proven safe and effective technology locates and seals leaks from the inside of the air ducts. Aspen quickly reduced duct leakage by 98 % from 5,800+ CFM to 429 CFM (98% reduction). The HVAC fan now operated at only 37% of capacity. The system was quieter, and university engineers were relieved. In fact, the project was so successful, Aspen was asked to seal another campus building.

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