Track E | Energy Basics
A recent industry-wide survey found that 75% of engineers believe duct leaks are a
significant cause of energy waste in existing U.S. buildings today. The EPA estimates
that most buildings lose 30% or more of treated air through duct leaks and a report from
McKinsey And Company found that duct sealing is often the single most effective thing
building owners can do to reduce energy use. But despite the size and scope of the
problem, this near ubiquitous issue has been all but ignored for one primary reason - there
simply has been no viable solution. Accessing and sealing leaks in existing ductwork
typically requires procedures that are both highly disruptive and prohibitively expensive.
In 2008, engineering firm Steven Winters Associates (SWA), using innovative new
technologies, began to change this reality by completing the first comprehensive building
ventilation retrofit for improving building performance. Incorporating the use of new duct
sealing technology and air-flow management devices, engineers were able to, for the first
time, effectively repair a multi-story apartment building’s exhaust system without
demolition and with minimal disruption to existing tenants.
The success of this project, with its innovative approach to duct remediation, has sparked
a new trend in HVAC retrofitting that has since been used to enhance the ventilation and
energy performance for hundreds of apartments throughout the New York region.
The use of these technologies also helped reduce the energy costs of a single elementary
school by $45,000/year. A Dayton-area hospital was able to lower exhaust fan speeds and
reduce energy costs by more than $5,000 annually.
This presentation will review how technological breakthroughs are changing the rules on
improving energy efficiency and making commercial building ventilation and HVAC
duct system remediation viable for the first time.
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