Survey finds duct leakage as main energy loss in commercial buildings
A new 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 independent survey was taken in the fall of 2015 by BCA’s Best Practice Technical Committee as part of their ongoing research and development for their update to the “Best Practice Guide for Existing Building Commissioning”. The survey queried BCA members regarding various building performance issues. A total of 236 nationwide BCA members and industry stakeholders, representing engineers, commissioning providers, facility managers, and other building professional responded to the survey.
According to BCA, 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. Seventy-five percent of respondents said 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. Seventy-three percent of the respondents said they believe most buildings in the U.S. today have significant duct leakage. Another 54.66% said that, in their experience, they believe that duct leakage rates of 15% or more are somewhat common, while an additional 13.4% said they are highly likely.
“We call it ‘The Hole Truth’ about building performance,” said 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 ten most effective energy saving strategies among all energy-saving 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,” said 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 both new and existing buildings.”
Results from the survey indicate that 22% of building professionals have found significant duct leakage to be prevalent in both new and existing buildings. For more information on BCA visit, www.bcxa.org.