8 Low- and No-Cost Ways to Save Energy in Buildings

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In an article appearing in a recent issue of Engineering Green Buildings, a newsletter from HPAC Engineering, author Kenneth M. Elovitz identifies several “low-hanging fruit” ideas for budget-minded facility managers looking to cut costs associated with energy use in commercial buildings.

As the author points out, new building projects provide energy-saving opportunities related to design and construction. Existing buildings, however, have a variety of low- and no-cost energy saving retrofit options worthy of consideration as well. Below is a summary of several ideas shared in the piece as well as one added suggestion. 

  1. Analyze Building Energy Use
  2. Reduce Water Pressure or Use Low-Flow Faucets and Showerheads
  3. Reduce Boiler Steam Pressure
  4. Repair Damaged or Missing Insulation
  5. Install Lighting Controls
  6. Consider “Smart” Power Strips
  7. Reset Hot/Chilled-Water Temperature
  8. Seal Leaky Ductwork

We couldn’t agree more with #8! Recent research by the U.S. Department of Energy, McKinsey & Company and others has shed a new spotlight on the major role that air distribution systems play in the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.

It’s not that duct leakage is anything new. It’s been around for about as long as commercial buildings themselves. But the problem has been all but ignored for one simple reason: there were no viable solutions. Few building owners were willing to undergo the demolition, disruption and expense associated with traditional duct sealing methods.

Faced with this reality, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with funding by the U.S. DOE, the EPA, and others, focused efforts on finding an answer. They were determined to develop a viable, cost-effective way to seal energy-robbing leaks that currently exist in the miles of ductwork hidden behind the infrastructure of today’s buildings.

The result of their efforts was a new technology that offers a completely different approach to duct sealing – a technology that works from the inside out to seal leaks. Administered as an aerosol mist that is injected and blown into the inside of ductwork or ventilation shafts, the sealing technology can quickly and non-disruptively seal leaks throughout the entire duct system.

In 2008, Steven Winters Associates (SWA), armed with this and other innovative air flow management technologies, began work on a project that would have engineers rethinking ventilation retrofitting and energy saving strategies. Combining these new technologies, SWA engineers completely rehabilitated the duct system of a 55-year old multi-family apartment building in West Caldwell, New Jersey, saving the building owners an estimated $29,000/year in reduced energy costs.

Following the success of this and other similar projects, the use of aerosol-based duct sealing has surged in retrofit projects around the globe. Thousands of commercial buildings – from hospitals in Dubai to condos in Australia, to schools, office buildings and hotels across the United States – have used Aeroseal technology to realize energy savings and improve the overall performance of their commercial buildings.

Now that a viable, cost-effective means of sealing duct leaks is readily available, we are also seeing a tightening of standards and a change in the rules related to energy conservation. Top government regulatory agencies and industry groups have begun to include duct sealing on the top of their list of low-cost opportunities for energy savings.

The choices for energy-saving measures (ECMs) in commercial real estate today are vast. Some cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – others little or nothing. Thanks to innovative advancements in duct sealing technology, sealing duct leaks has earned its place as a new low-hanging fruit in the arsenal of those looking to reduce the operational costs of their commercial buildings.

Source: Aeroseal

Aspen Air Duct Cleaning is a certified Aeroseal Dealer, licensed and insured. Please contact Aspen Air Duct Cleaning at 1-800-931-6653 for professional air duct and dryer vent inspection, cleaning, and repair. Or email info@aspenenvironmentalservices.com

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Stop the Leaks in Your Building and Improve Your Bottom Line

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A Sound Financial Decision

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Aeroseal is the most effective, affordable, and viable method of sealing duct leaks. Just like anywhere else, ducts in commercial buildings leak. Leaking ducts cost you money via:

  • Increased Energy Consumption – With fan power representing 40-50% of HVAC energy usage, leakage costs can be significant due to increases in fan speed to compensate for leakage; even 15% leakage can lead to an increase in system fan power of 40%
  • Thermal Loss – When supply air escapes, variations in temperature between rooms and floors occur affecting comfort levels in this space
  • Equipment Overload – Your system will run longer than specified to compensate for pressure loss and temperature accuracy; this could lead to increased maintenance costs and premature component replacement
  • Code Issues – Leakage could lead to ventilation and safety code issues relating to exhaust, along with excessive fan power use
  • Airflow Safety – For hospitals, laboratories and manufacturing facilities, the unexpected spread of contaminants and biohazards through back drafting could pose a liability

The computerized duct system inspection performed by Aeroseal will illustrate not only the building leakage percentage, but also the impact that sealing the leaks can have on your company’s bottom line. Using local utility rates, estimated system operating hours, and other inputs supplied by your operations personnel, our software closely calculates all the financial parameters of the project including:

  • Simple payback
  • Benefit-to-cost ratio and ROI

Let us help you secure increased comfort and air quality in your building as your company saves money. Contact your Aeroseal professionals today and we’ll investigate and locate the hidden problem areas in your duct system. We’ll properly diagnose your system and provide you with a cost-effective, state-of-the-art solution to your duct issues that can save you huge capital and manpower expenditures. Aeroseal seals up the leaks. And the wasted money and hazards of faulty ductwork.

Reduce Your Energy and Ventilation Problems

Are you looking for ways to reduce your building’s energy costs, improve indoor air quality (IAQ), fix your venting issues and extend equipment life? Get a good start by taking a closer look at your ductwork. According to the US Department of Energy, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that the leakage rates of commercial buildings exceed the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) recommended classes by an average of 20 percent. Both new and old commercial buildings exhibit duct system problems including:

  • Increased airflow due to duct leakage
  • Improperly installed duct sealants
  • Damaged sealants: thermal pressure and temperature cycling can damage sealants – especially the rubber-based adhesive found in duct tape -increasing leakage over time

But there’s a simple solution to this costly problem. You can reduce your energy and equipment repair costs resulting from compromised ductwork with the most advanced duct sealing in the industry – Aeroseal Certified Duct Diagnostics and Sealing.

How Does Aeroseal Work?

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The patented Aeroseal duct-sealing technology is an effective and affordable method of sealing ductwork systems within commercial buildings. The Aeroseal duct sealing process begins and ends by conducting a thorough diagnostic test of the duct system. The process works like this:

The diffusers are temporarily blocked while sealant is blown throughout the duct system. Pressure maintained within the system causes the air to accelerate as it exits through the leaks. The Aeroseal particles build up to span and seal the holes – up to 5/8 of an inch – without coating the ductwork. Aeroseal effectively seals ductwork from the inside out by using UL-tested and approved sealing material.

At the conclusion of the process, the diagnostic test is performed again summarizing your building’s amount of leakage reduction to ensure Aeroseal was successful.

Additionally, the Department of Energy declared Aeroseal as one of the most beneficial energy technologies for American consumers.

Source: Aeroseal

Aspen Air Duct Cleaning is an approved Aeroseal Dealer, licensed and ensured, and a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) and National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI).

Please contact Aspen Air Duct Cleaning at 1-800-931-6653 for an Air Duct System Inspection and to learn more about how sealing air duct leaks can improve indoor air quality and reduce energy costs. Or email info@aspenenvironmentalservices.com.

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AEROSEAL KEY TO $37,000 ANNUAL ENERGY SAVINGS FOR NEW JERSEY HIGH-RISE

Energy Auditors Specify The Use Of Aeroseal To Increase Energy Efficiency And Reduce Duct Leakage by Up to 95%

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Owners of Northgate II, a Section 8 community in Camden, New Jersey, were looking to reduce energy costs associated with its 308-unit apartment high-rise. To receive upgrade funding through the State’s Multifamily Weatherization Assistance Program, they had to prove that upgrades would result in substantial energy savings and a payback period of ten years or less. Energy auditors brought in to evaluate and recommend an effective course of action specified changes be made to the building’s electrical and mechanical systems.
They also insisted that Aeroseal be used to seal leaks throughout the high-rise’s entire duct system.

In Brief
Property Managers: Fair Share Development
Project Contractors: McDonald Building Co.
Property Name: Northgate II
Type: Section 8, 23-story high-rise, 308 units
Goal: Reduce energy usage by 15% or more
Before Aeroseal: Average energy leakage: 971 CFM*
After Aeroseal: Average 83% reduction in CFM loss
Cost savings: $34,000/year from reduced exhaust fan usage. An additional $3,000/year from increased heating efficiency.
Payback: 3-4 years.
*Cubic feet per minute

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An initial audit of the 23-story high rise’s ductwork showed that there were thousands of leaks throughout the building’s exhaust system. As a result, the two large fans used to draw stale air out of each of the individual apartments consumed a lot of energy to do its job. By effectively sealing the leaks with Aeroseal and updating the system’s dampers, the fans’ energy use was reduced by more than 217,000 kw/hours – a savings of more than $34,000 a year in electricity. Building owners also achieved an additional $3,000 a year in savings through more effective heating.

Quotes

“Preliminary testing revealed fairly large gaps throughout the building’s vertical exhaust ducts. The Aeroseal process fixed that problem and in doing so, significantly improved the efficiency of the building’s two exhaust fans. Aeroseal technology played a significant role in helping reduce energy consumption and ultimately meeting the requirements of the State’s Weatherization Assistance Program.”
John Ambrose, McDonald Building Company

“Our multi-family building specialists have a keen interest in ventilation systems and the wasted energy that often results from leaky ductwork. Through our ongoing experience with Aeroseal technology we’ve come to including the Aeroseal process as a standard recommendation when leaky duct systems are a concern.”
Don Casper, energy auditor, Steven Winter Associate

       

Aeroseal – The Technology

  • Developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1994.
  • Research for Aeroseal was partially funded by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Aeroseal is the only duct sealant technology that is applied from the inside of the duct system. It is delivered as a non-toxic aerosol mist that seeks out and plugs leaks.
  • Aeroseal has proven to be 95% effective at sealing air duct leaks.

Aeroseal – The Company

  • Aeroseal LLC is a subsidiary of JMD Corporation. The company is dedicated solely to the support of its dealers and the expansion of Aeroseal technology as a primary means of residential and commercial energy conservation.
  • Aeroseal is the sole owner and licensee of Aeroseal technology.
  • Aeroseal technology was bought by Carrier Corporation in the late 1990s. In 2010, Mark Modera, the inventor of Aeroseal, with the support of private equity investors, bought the company from carrier to realize the full potential and benefits of the technology. This lead to the launch of Aeroseal LLC in 2011.

Source: Aeroseal

Aspen Air Duct Cleaning is an approved Aeroseal Dealer, licensed and ensured, and a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) and National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI).

Please contact Aspen Air Duct Cleaning at 1-800-931-6653 for an Air Duct System Inspection and to learn more about how sealing air duct leaks can improve indoor air quality and reduce energy costs. Or email info@aspenenvironmentalservices.com.

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