Air Sealing Larger Industrial Properties
May 02, 2016
For large buildings to be energy efficient, well maintained, and comfortable for occupants, airflow must be properly controlled. Airflow, particularly in large spaces, carries moisture throughout a space. This has various impacts on the building "envelope", including indoor thermal energy and interior air quality. It's therefore key to control airflow, and here, one of the principal approaches is the installation of air barriers. Professionally expedited, high performance air barrier systems will substantially reduce air leakage, thus ensuring enhanced energy efficiency (and savings). Air sealing a building "envelope" significantly reduces energy consumption in large buildings. The bigger debate is how best to implement a project of this size - the effort must be results-driven and cost-effective. As it is, industry research shows that air leakage accounts for about 1/3 of energy usage in industrial buildings. And while new construction certainly specifies air barrier requirements, existing buildings don't have the same guidelines. So for professional contractors, the principal objective is to gauge the potential energy savings that will derive from air sealing. The bottom line in reducing building "envelope" air leakage is to "capture energy savings". Again, it's the professionals who must diagnose the nature and extent of the air leakage, and then come up with a viable plan that ensures consequent (and meaningful) energy savings. Industry wide, the principal strategy here is the implementation of air barriers. Effective air barriers will have the most influence on heat flow and moisture flow - the elements that most effect energy use and efficiency. As for the building owner, the project savings must justify the project investment. Importantly, air barrier systems serve to separate indoor air (conditioned air) from outdoor air (unconditioned air). And in larger industrial buildings, the additional benefit as a fire, smoke, and fume barrier adds value to the project. Consequently, it's critical to choose an air sealing method that will achieve the utmost, and deliver the maximum. This is where spray foam insulation can deliver it all - an effective air barrier system; airtightness in every cavity, joint and seam; added structural integrity; and the highest thermal performance (R-Value) of any insulation product. A professional insulation contractor must guarantee that an installed air barrier system will keep outside air from creeping into the building, and prevent inside air from leaking out. Cold climate or warm, air infiltration and exfiltration must be effectively controlled. Moreover, performance must be ensured well after installation, with an expectation of longevity during the lifespan of the building. Once again, it's the spray foam insulation that meets all of the challenges, performing as a combination air barrier and vapor barrier, and without the need to replace or replenish. Great Northern Insulation has the team of experts to assess and implement large-building energy retrofits. With a focus on air sealing, and with state-of-the-art diagnostics, GNI can meet and exceed the expectations of both building owners and facility managers. As specialists in building science, the team at GNI professionally evaluates the building "envelope", identifies air leakage and moisture dynamics, and designs the solution package that delivers the optimum results.