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Duct Leakage Found to Be Significant Cause of Energy Waste

Duct Leakage Found to Be Significant Cause of Energy Waste

A survey from the Building Commissioning Association (BCA) found that an overwhelming majority of engineers and other building professionals believe that duct leakage is a significant cause of energy loss in most commercial buildings today. The survey, taken in December 2015 and sponsored in part by Aeroseal LLC, queried BCA members regarding various building performance issues. A total of 236 nationwide BCA members, representing engineers, commissioning agents, facility managers and other building professionals responded to the survey.

Results of the survey indicate that the overwhelming majority of today’s building professionals believe that, for commercial buildings, leaky ductwork is a significant cause of energy waste. 75 percent of respondents say they believe that leaky ducts contribute substantially to energy loss in commercial buildings. At the same time, building professionals think that leaky ducts are a common problem. 73.73 percent of the respondents say they believe most buildings in the U.S. today have significant duct leakage. 54.66 percent say that, in their experience, they believe that duct leakage rates of 15 percent or more are somewhat common, while an additional 13.4 percent say they are highly likely.

“We call it ‘The Hole Truth’ about building performance,” says Neal Walsh, senior vice president of Aeroseal. “Most people don’t even think about the role that ductwork plays in commercial building performance, but the fact is, duct leakage is one of the most significant contributors to energy waste in U.S. buildings today.” The U.S. Department of Energy, ranks duct sealing third among all HVAC-related upgrades available to commercial building owners for significant energy savings. The agency’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) also ranks duct sealing as one of the 10 most effective energy-saving strategies among all performance enhancement categories.

“For decades, the problems associated with duct leakage in commercial buildings have typically been underestimated for one simple reason—fixing the problem has been a highly expensive and intrusive proposition,” says Walsh. “Now that new innovations in duct sealing technology are available, building professionals are finding duct sealing to be the new low-hanging fruit when it comes to energy savings for new and existing buildings.”

Results from the survey indicate that 22 percent of building professionals have found significant duct leakage to be prevalent in new and existing buildings. Less than 3 percent of respondents said that it was not prevent in either type of buildings.

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