Can Air Sealing Help Create Energy-Efficient Buildings?
In recent years, there has been a growing focus on creating more energy-efficient buildings, and that starts with ensuring that buildings are sealed from unwanted air infiltration.
Did you know that as much as 40% of a building’s energy is lost to unwanted airflow? Failure to seal the building envelope leaves gaps and holes, drives up energy usage, and lets valuable resources go to waste.
Properly sealed buildings require less energy for heating and cooling, which may result in savings for owners. Energy-efficient buildings also helps occupants by stabilizing indoor temperatures, and improving air quality and comfort.
California Promotes Air Sealing
The California Energy Commission (CEC) Efficiency Division recognizes that preventing unwanted airflow is fundamental to creating energy efficient buildings.
The CEC recently published a document on the importance of sealing the building’s envelope. The envelope is the exterior components of a building that enclose the conditioned space, separating the conditioned space from unconditioned spaces like attics and garages.
The CEC notes that buildings with properly sealed envelopes have lower rates of air leakage, which saves on energy related to heating and cooling. Controlling the indoor-outdoor air exchange is also made easier with proper sealing.
California’s energy code even has mandatory requirements for sealing the envelopes of certain types of buildings, including:
- Newly constructed low-rise residential
- High-rise residential buildings
Spray Polyurethane Foam: The Ultimate Solution
What better way to meet California’s sealing requirements than with spray polyurethane foam (SPF)? SPF performs as both insulation and an air barrier, sealing nooks and crannies that let air escape and drive up energy usage. This increases energy savings and helps keep indoor temperatures steady all while using a single product.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that about 56% of energy used in a home goes to heating and cooling. Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have a tremendous impact on your energy consumption, and air leaks can cause them to overwork. SPF insulation can help reduce HVAC sizing by as much as 35% without losing efficiency and comfort.
It’s pretty clear that SPF can play a key role in creating energy-efficient buildings. SPF’s ability to fill gaps in the building envelope and stop leaks in many areas of the home makes it instrumental in controlling airflow and increasing energy savings. These qualities can greatly assist builders in not just meeting, but exceeding California’s Energy Code requirements for sealing the building envelope.