GreenBuild Revisited

Aeroseal duct sealing wins best of show

Duct Sealing Stands Out At GreenBuild

It’s been several weeks since the GreenBuild International Conference and Expo set up shop at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, but the buzz continues to spread throughout the industry. By all accounts GreenBuild has become the biggest gathering for engineers, architects, contractors and just about anyone else interested in sustainable building. And if you’re at all affiliated with the construction industry or home performance markets, that certainly includes you.

This year, Greenbuild hosted about 750 suppliers and top manufacturers as they shared the latest innovation in green technology with more than 23,000 attendees. For Aeroseal, For Aeroseal, the show marked a new chapter in the company’s catapulting success.

“For the first time in Aeroseal’s history, the overwhelming number of people visiting our booth actually came seeking us out,” said Aeroseal’s Bobby Seals. “For the past several years, we’ve been attending shows like this and spending most of our time explaining our technology to passerbys – but not this time. Instead, our booth was filled throughout the three-day event with engineers, specifiers and other building professionals that had already heard about aeroseal. This time they came with specific questions in mind – often about how aeroseal could be applied to existing projects on which they were working.”

Building professionals weren’t the only ones taking notice of the aeroseal technology during the show. Editors of US Building Review magazine, one of show’s key sponsors, found the potential energy-saving benefits of aeroseal so compelling, that they gave it their Editor’s Choice award. Aeroseal was featured on the cover of the magazine’s latest issue and was declared BEST OF SHOW by the publication.

“The potential impact that Aeroseal technology could have on energy savings is estimated by the D.O.E. to be in the billions of dollars annually,” said US Builders Review’s Editorial Director, Ian Nichols. “Of the hundreds of products and technologies represented at this year’s Greenbuild, we felt that none were more deserving of this award than Aeroseal.”

And that is a nice curtain closer on 2014 and a great introduction to the year ahead. We expect this coming year to be a particularly big one for Aeroseal as the technology grows from a one-off project saver to mainstream acceptance in the renovation and building construction side of things, and a top-of-mind energy saving solution for home owners.

 

Saving Taxpayers Thou$ands, One Aeroseal Project After Another

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Antelope Country Club reduced its energy bill by thousands each month.

Republican, Democrat or Independent – when it comes to state and local government, one thing seems constant… budget shortfalls. There never seems to be enough money to sufficiently run our schools, repair our roads or facilitate the numerous other programs and initiatives demanded by our citizenry and elected officials. So it’s always important to note when someone finds a strategy that makes improvements while saving the government money at the same time.

Aeroseal has been helping cities do just that for several years now. I’ve already blogged about a school district in Ohio that fixed a perpetual heating problem and is now saving tens of thousands of dollars of their annual operational budget because they sealed their ductwork with Aeroseal. Then there is the government city center building in Las Vegas that solved its ventilation problems and in doing so, reduced their energy costs by thousands each year.

Here’s another example to include on that government-savings list: By aerosealing the ductwork of just one building, the city of Prescott, Arizona is now saving taxpayers $2,000 to $4,000 each month in operational expenses associated with its government-run country club.

But that’s not the beginning of the Aeroseal-savings story for the city of Prescott, or the last.

It began when the local Aeroseal dealer in Prescott convinced a few of the city’s facility managers to have their own homes aerosealed. Bryce Cox of Arrowseal LLC figured if he could prove to these directors how effective the duct sealing technology was in reducing energy costs in their own homes, they would be more likely to understand what it could do to save the city money as well.

It worked! The team at Arrowseal sealed the ductwork of several older homes suffering from both high energy bills and spotty heating and cooling. The results made instant Aeroseal believers of the homeowners, and that led to a pilot project for the city.

To prove that Aeroseal is as effective in sealing commercial ductwork as it in a residential setting, Cox and his crew were asked to do their Aeroseal magic on a small one-system office complex managed by the city. For good measure, they also sealed the leaky ductwork at the city’s main fire station. In both cases, Aeroseal provided immediate and substantial savings.

So, in January of this year, the Arrowseal team was called in to work on a golf course facility run by the City of Prescott. The Antelope Hills Municipal Country Club includes a clubhouse, restaurant, bar and pro shop, all under one roof. The city was about to replace the facility’s six HVAC roof units with new energy-efficient equipment, and they wanted Arrowseal to ensure the ductwork was up to snuff as well.  Before the upgrade, energy costs for operating the country club were running around $5,000 to $6,000 a month and the city was hoping that, with the new systems and aerosealed ductwork, they could reduce that cost.

“We did an analysis of the HVAC system before the upgrade and then immediately following the new equipment installation. As you can imagine, the city administrators were not happy to find that, despite the new energy-efficient equipment, the system was running worse than before the upgrade.”

Apparently, the new ductwork and the connections between the ductwork and the new systems caused more leaks than the original system. Whatever efficiency the city may have gotten from upgrading units, they were losing through the leaks. All eyes were now on the Arrowseal team. It was up to them to save the day.

Step one for Arrowseal was to manually seal the connections between the ducts and the HVAC units. Bryce estimates that this alone reduced leakage by 100 CFM. Now it was up to Aeroseal to make it all worthwhile.

It took the Arrowseal team just two days to seal the supply and returns of the six individual systems.  Calculations showed a total pre-aeroseal (post manual sealing) leakage rate of 1,072 CFM. Aerosealing instantly brought that down to 79 CFM – a reduction of around 92%.

“Overall, we recovered almost 1,000 CFM of treated air – nearly 3 tons. That is the equivalent of saving the energy generated by one of the entire systems,” said Bryce.

The city estimates they are now saving an average of $2,000 per month – and as much as $4,000 per month during the hottest and coldest months – just from Aeroseal alone.

“The savings from Aeroseal will quickly pay for any costs of the sealing process and then begin to pay for the six systems,” said Bryce. “Even with their higher efficiency, the new HVAC units would never have saved enough in energy to pay for themselves on their own.”

Now the city of Prescott is looking to include Arrowseal in all of its retrofit projects. With a little investment in time and patience, Bryce turned a few small projects into a steady stream of work that will pay off for both Arrowseal and the taxpayers of Prescott, Arizona.

Aeroseal Saving Public School District $45k a Year

Licking HeightsIt seems that our public schools are constantly in panic mode, looking for ways to save money and allocate limited resources. So it’s particularly exciting to tell you about a project where aerosealing just a single elementary school building is saving one school district about $45,000 a year. That’s a lot of bake sales! In addition, it turned the school superintendent into a hardened evangelist for aeroseal technology and he now tells other school administrators about the savings potential that duct sealing offers.

Ever since West Elementary School, the K-5 branch of the Licking Heights school district opened its doors about seven years ago, getting heat to all wings of the east Columbus, Ohio school building was a problem. In fact, it could get so bad that some of the teachers in the distant classrooms regularly wore winter coats while teaching class. The kids often had on hats and mittens.

Every year, the temperature would take a dive, the complaints would come in and the engineers would do what they could to fix the problem – but to no avail.

What really got the attention of the school district’s new superintended, however, was the building’s huge monthly utility bill. No one could explain why the utility bill at West Elementary was more than double that of its twin building just down the road.

“We brought in Heapy Engineering to commission the buildings and do a thorough evaluation of everything that might effect performance,” said Dr. Philip Wagner, superintendent, Licking Heights School District.  “What we discovered was that we had some real issues with the ductwork at West Elementary. Testing results indicated that the HVAC system was running at about 6% of its capabilities. A thermal scan of the building along with other investigatory activities clearly showed we were losing most of our heated air through leaks in the ductwork.”

With the cause of the problem identified, the search began for a solution.  Proposal requests went out to a variety of HVAC and mechanical shops. In the end, the school board listened to three presentations from three different firms offering three different solutions.

One of the options presented to the school board involved the use of Aeroseal duct sealing.

“I was familiar with Aeroseal from a duct sealing project I was involved in at Ohio State University,” said Tony Furst, solutions engineer at Bruner Corp, one of the presenting HVAC and mechanical solutions providers invited to submit a proposal.  “I saw first-hand how well it worked sealing the ductwork at one of the university’s new dormitories and I knew it would be the ideal solution for Licking Heights.”

The next step was to convince Dr. Wagner and the rest of the school board that Aeroseal was the right choice.

“Honestly, for me, Aeroseal technology was originally the dark horse of the three options presented to us,” said Wagner. “My experience has taught me that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I was told the Aeroseal approach would take days – not months to complete. It would be virtually non-disruptive, and it was about half the cost of the other options. All this sounded good – but I had never heard of this technology before and it sounded to me to be more of a temporary fix rather than a permanent solution.”

To convince Wagner and the other board members otherwise, Furst, with the assistance of Aeroseal, shared with them examples of other successful Aeroseal projects.

“What really sold me was a strong guarantee and even stronger references from other school administrators that previously had enjoyed great success with the duct sealing technology,” said Wagner. “In the end, we decided to give it a try.”

With contract in hand, the Bruner Aeroseal team arrived on the first Saturday kicking off the Christmas holiday season. The three-man crew had about two weeks to complete the entire project before children returned to school. They began by dividing the 50,000 CFM duct system into 12 sections to be sealed individually.

The Results

There are several ways to talk about results on a project like this. First the numbers:

Before aerosealing began, the system’s two fans were running at 100%, 100% of the time. Not only did this require a significant amount of energy, but the sound caused by the fan was so disruptive that there were classrooms that were underutilized because of the distracting noise.

After Aeroseal, the fans were turned back on and adjusted to about 60%. During one of the coldest winters in Ohio’s history, the fans have yet to be turned up more than this original 60 percent.

It is estimated that the school will save about $11,266 /year on electricity alone -  just from the reduced fan usage.

On the supply side of the system, the school estimates a leakage reduction of about 20,000 CFM. Computer-calculations show that in several cases, a single section of ductwork realized a reduction of 3,000 CFM or more. A similar pattern was found on the return side of the system with leakage rates being reduced by as much as 3, 111 CFM – a total reduction of 37%.

By reducing duct leakage, it is estimated that the school will save 944 MCF/year (volume of 1,000 cubic feet (cf) ) in natural gas for a cost savings of another $34,000/year. The school calculates that the entire project will pay for itself in about three years. After that, they are looking at an annual budget savings of about $45,000 for energy costs.

“We estimate that in the seven or so years that this building has been in operation, we’ve lost well over half a million dollars in wasted energy costs,” said Wagner. The Aerosealed ductwork will reverse this trend and begin putting money back into the budget.”

But what about other measurements of success?

“When we went back to visit the school, we were greeted as heroes,” said Furst. “Several teachers told us that they were comfortable in their classroom for the very first time. A class of first graders thanked us for making it warm.”

According to Wagner, the results were immediately noticeable. The treated air now reaches all the rooms. Teachers are no longer giving lessons with their coats on. Children aren’t wearing their hats in the classroom. And the fan isn’t running nearly as long or as hard as it used to, so the noise problem has disappeared.

“This project was one of the smoothest projects we’ve ever had done at this school,” said Wagner. “It was completed on time and within budget. We needed a safe a secure space ready for the return of children after the holidays and we got it. It’s met every expectation and then some.”

Due to the success of this initial project, the school district is looking at having its other buildings aerosealed. While West Elementary was particularly problematic, tests revealed that each and every building in the school system could benefit from having its ducts sealed.

“I entered this project a skeptic,” said Wagner, “but finished it a complete believer. I am even considering having my house Aerosealed.”

 

 

 

The Grammy Award of the HVAC Industry

DDA_SILVER_2011When it comes to industry awards, this is a biggy.  Aeroseal’s new HomeSeal duct sealing system just won a 2014 Dealer Design Award from the industry’s most respected trade magazine, ACHR News. It appears that colleagues agree – HomeSeal is an industry “game changer.” It makes residential duct sealing easy and affordable and provides HVAC businesses with a natural path to satisfying the growing customer demand for energy efficiency solutions.

What makes this award particularly notable is that the panel of judges for this award consisted of independent contractors – fellow HVAC pros that really understand the industry and the challenges HVAC businesses face moving forward. You can read more about the new HomeSeal system at on the Aeroseal website and more about the award itself on the ACHR News site.

Aeroseal Closing The Gap State By State

Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Maine and Wyoming.

State of the StatesThat’s it.  We are sooo close. Only ten states to go before homeowners and property managers in every state in the country will have access to at least one Aeroseal service provider.  Not bad for a technology that has been available for just a short time. In fact, Aeroseal has reached a number of milestones that attest to its rapid adoption and succes. In just the last couple of years:

- The number of Aeroseal dealers nationwide has grown to more than 300.

- Aeroseal has also gone global with service providers now in places like Canada, Australia, France, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates

- More than 100,000 buildings and homes have been sealed to date

During the same timeframe, Aeroseal has gained significant industry acceptance as well. In the last 24 months, a number of standards bodies and green building certification organizations have updated their specifications to reflect the groundbreaking capabilities of aerosol duct sealing.  Underwriters Laboratory (UL) recently added a new certification category, UL 1381, specifically to cover aerosol duct sealing. Also, the proposed ANSI/BPI standard BPI-3300-A-201x, is currently written to include for the first time reference to the use of aerosol-based duct sealing technology. Other examples include the Federal Energy Management Program’s (FEMP) ranking of aerosol duct sealing as one of the top ten strategies for reducing building energy consumption and Home Innovations Labs recent approval of Aeroseal as a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) product.

In addition, many local, state and industry green building specifications for permissible duct leakage have tightened to such a degree that they are only reachable through the use of Aeroseal.

All of this makes one thing clear. We are seeing aeroseal duct sealing quickly becoming a standard practice for both new construction and retrofit projects alike.

If you want to find out if there is currently an Aeroseal dealer near your neighborhood, check out the dealer locator page on our website at www.aeroseal.com. And if you don’t find one near you today – check back. We are adding new dealers all the time.

 

 

Aeroseal Provides Comfort To Ottawa’s Oldest Church

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“It took over a year to find the cause of our even heating problem – and less than a day to fix it!” That’s what Mary Martha Hails, the facility manager at St. Albans Church told me when I asked her about the Aeroseal duct sealing work that was just completed.“We were all highly skeptical that duct leaks could be responsible for the issues we were having with the (new HVAC) system and that this new duct sealing technology could solve the problem. We were wrong on both accounts,” said Daniel Carley, the project manager.  Aeroseal proved to be the fastest, easiest and least expensive solution. It was a project saver.

St. Albans is a 145 year-old stone building and the oldest church in Ottawa. It recently went through a major renovation that included turning the basement from a storage room into a large facility for the area’s homeless. After all the work was done, the new HVAC system was turned on and tested. Unfortunately the newly installed energy recovery ventilation (ERV)) unit  wasn’t able to draw enough air into the intake side or blow out enough air on the other end – even when the unit was turned up all the way. And that meant the basement wasn’t getting the heat it needed and the ventilation wasn’t strong enough to draw air out of the newly built kitchen or shower area. Not good.

For more than a year, the engineers on the project tried everything to get it to work properly. Finally, someone suggested that perhaps the problem was due to leaks in the newly installed ductwork.  If that were the case, it would mean tearing down all the new walls to get to the ducts and manually seal them…or they could use Aeroseal. Luckily, someone had heard about this new game-changing duct sealing technology out of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The upshot…it took the Aeroseal team just a matter of a few hours to seal the entire duct system – without having to disrupt any of the new construction. Leakage was reduced by 92% and the ERV system that wouldn’t work properly at when turned all the way up, is now generating 20% more air than needed at half its power. Yes, Aeroseal can.

Another Award Goes To HomeSeal

stop duct leaks with aerosealSorry, but we just have to boast…again. Since the launch of HomeSeal this past September, the buzz surrounding this next generation duct sealing system has been phenomenal – especially with the industry press. From The NEWS to DuctTales; ComforTech Expo to SNIPS magazine, HomeSeal has been racking up awards and being held up as an ideal solution for contractors looking to get in on the industry-transforming home performance market.

And now Contracting Business magazine weighs in as well, honoring HomeSeal with its Product Showcase Award for April 2014. As explained by the magazine’s editors, HomeSeal was first introduced at Comfortech 2013, and has since been lowering the barriers for HVAC businesses, duct sealing pros and others seeking a way to expand their service offerings and grow their business.

But HomeSeal and the attention its been getting has also done a great deal to educate the public at large about the role that duct leakage can play in indoor comfort, air quality and energy savings. In just the past year, and with the help of aeroseal’s feature on shows like Ask This Old House, the Today show and the Marilyn Denis Show, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in homeowner demand for aeroseal duct sealing services.

So a shout out and thanks to Contracting Business for recognizing HomeSeal and the aeroseal technology. And, of course, if you want to learn more, just give us a call.

Saving Convention Center Hotel Thousands In Energy And Maintenance Costs

commercial HVAC upgradeTo say that the owners of the Capital Plaza Hotel in Kentucky were energy conservation skeptics would be an understatement. “If it worked, everyone would be doing it” was a familiar sentiment. Today, they are true believers. With the help of Aeroseal, the 10-story hotel and convention center, in the heart of the state’s capitol, has just become the first Energy Star certified hotel in the state. Owners estimate that duct sealing and other “low hanging” energy saving measures has reduced operating costs by $110,000 a year. Sealing leaks also fixed bathroom exhaust issues, eliminating chronic mold and mildew problems. Cold spots have been replaced with even temperatures throughout the facilities.

“I was getting quotes for an overhaul of the HVAC system that ran $1 million to $2 million dollars – it would have taken decades to pay back. We opted instead to seal the ductwork with aeroseal,” said Jason Delambre, the founder of Interdependent Energies and the energy consultant that lead the hotel’s energy savings strategies. “That dramatically improved the efficiency of the current system, allowed us to reduce energy use related to heat loss and running the exhaust fans and it solved a lot of issues related to poor ventilation. We expect pay back on the duct sealing to take less than two years. Then it’s simply ongoing savings right off the top of the hotel’s monthly operating expenses.”

“During the pilot project we got to see how the aeroseal technology actually worked,” said Chad Braden, the director of facilities at Capital Plaza. “The computer-generated graph follows the sealing process in real time and we watched as the leaks were sealed and the CFM of lost air went down to practically nothing. There was no other way, short of tearing down and rebuilding the hotel that we could have gotten anything near these results.”

The sealing process took 5 days to complete. Payback estimated in less than two years. Ongoing savings estimated for duct sealing alone is approximately $24,000/year. Additional savings is expected through reduced maintenance costs and equipment repair. The once skeptic owners are now enthusiastic supporters of aerosol duct sealing and other energy conservation measures for significantly reducing overall operational costs.

 

New UL Category Just For Aerosol Duct Sealing

UL_Industries_PLASTICSCOMPONENTS_SegmentLanding_LabelingOne giant leap forward – a new category has just been added to Underwriters Laboratory’s list of approved solutions for duct sealing. UL 1381 was just created specifically to cover aerosol duct sealing technology and provides contractors with a UL-certified alternative to older methods of sealing duct leaks – such as tape and mastic.

When it comes to industry standards, the UL symbol is about as ubiquitous as it gets. For more than a century, the UL symbol (the trademark of Underwriters Laboratory) has assured consumers that a product meets stringent safety standards. UL Environment supports the growth and development of environmentally preferable products.

And now, Aeroseal is part of the UL family. Along with several recent Aeroseal-related updates by other prestigious standards bodies such as ANSI/BPI (Building Performance Institute), NGBS (National Green Building Standard) and FEMP (Federal Energy Management Program), the creation of a new UL category specific to aerosol duct sealing is about as clear of an indicator that this game-changing approach to duct sealing is heading towards the mainstream.

A Great Explanation

There’s a reason why the crew of This Old House are considered tops in the home repair programming arena. They are not only experts at fixing houses, there is no team better at providing clear, concise explanations of what they are doing.

If you missed the latest episode of Ask This Old House (season 12 episode 20) you really missed the best presentation I’ve seen about this game-changing technology. Since the job it does is more or less hidden from view, Aeroseal is not the easiest thing to explain to the uninitiated, but the show’s HVAC expert Richard Tretheway made it seem simple…and he covered the important things to know.

If you’ve ever wondered why your energy bill is so high, why some of the rooms in your house don’t get the heat (or air conditioning) that they should or why your house is persistently dusty, this feature on duct sealing will explain it – and show you why it’s so much more effective than other methods of duct sealing. You’ll also get a great idea of what the Aeroseal process entails.

The duct sealing feature has been posted on the Aeroseal website. You can also find the entire episode on the PBS website.

duct sealing this old house