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Survey: Duct Leakage Main Cause of Energy Loss in Commercial Buildings

Jan. 29, 2016
Seventy-five percent believe leaky ducts contribute substantially to energy loss, while nearly 74 percent believe most buildings have significant duct leakage.

In a survey on building-performance issues recently conducted by the Building Commissioning Association (BCA), an overwhelming majority of engineers and other building professionals said they believe duct leakage to be a significant cause of energy loss in commercial buildings, Aeroseal LLC, developer of a method of sealing central heating and cooling and ventilation ductwork, is reporting.

In the fall of 2015, as part of research for an update of its “Best Practice Guide for Existing Building Commissioning,” BCA queried 236 of its members and other industry stakeholders. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they believe leaky ducts contribute substantially to energy loss in commercial buildings, while nearly 74 percent said they believe most buildings in the United States have significant duct leakage. Nearly 55 percent said they believe duct-leakage rates of 15 percent or more are somewhat common, while more than 13 percent said they are highly likely.

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, meanwhile, ranks duct sealing as one of the 10 most effective energy-saving strategies among all energy-saving categories.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said duct leakage is significant in both new and existing buildings. Less than 3 percent said it is not prevent in either type of building.