OH Startup Sealing Air Ducts, Building Envelopes
To help mitigate wasted energy in residential properties, a Dayton, Ohio-based startup has recently made its systems available across the United States and in 29 countries.
Aeroseal, the company responsible for the innovative sealing technology, is currently working with large- to mid-sized builders (such as DR Horton, Lennar and Beazer, and Thrive) to implement the tech in both air ducts and building envelopes.
“We built our brand on energy efficiency, and this is really the most foolproof way to get there,” said Gene Myers, CEO of Thrive. “I think energy efficiency and carbon reduction go hand in hand, and we’re really focused on carbon reduction in our company.”
Having recently celebrated its 12th anniversary, the company shared that it was in 1993 that scientist Dr. Mark Modera first invented the Aeroseal technology in his garage. The system works by sealing leaks commonly found in a structure’s air ducts or building envelope by issuing a pressurized sealant.
Over a decade later in 2010, CEO Amit Gupta officially established Aeroseal.
By 2015, the company introduced two new building envelope-sealing systems. At the time, Aeroseal said one of its systems was the first automated system designed to find and seal building air leaks, while the other aids in quickly setting up a duct-sealing job.
Since then, the company has continued to work with contractors and homeowners alike to prevent leaky ducts and envelopes from bringing pollutants into shared spaces, shortening the lifespan of HVAC equipment and increased energy usage, among others.
While newer residences are built more tightly, older homes can lose anywhere from 25%-40% of their heating or cooling output. The result of wasted energy causes higher consumer bills and adds to the number of emissions produced associated with energy production—noted to be a significant contributor to climate change.
According to Aeroseal, the world generates 22.1 million metric tons (gigatons) of carbon dioxide every year. Of that, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in 2020 that heating and cooling residences and businesses accounted for 13% of annual emissions.
The company’s overall goal, it notes, is to cut carbon emissions by one gigaton annually, which is the size of about 134 million U.S. households.
Sealant Process, What’s Next
Without ever having to cut into a wall, Aeroseal’s technology works by sending pressurized sealant through an air duct or building envelope to close any potential holes or leakage.
“What we have done is we have found a way to seal the air ducts in the building envelope without physically getting access to the leaks,” Gupta told CNBC.
Similar to fixing a flat tire, the ducts or building envelope are first pressurized with a fan. Then, micron-sized particles of sealant are injected into the area where, due to the pressure, they adhere to the gaps and seal them.
Aeroseal shares that its sealant particles are made of a non-toxic, non-flammable emulsion of water and vinyl acetate.
For an average-sized home, the process would cost around $2,500; however, Gupta claims the investment would pay for itself in energy cost savings within four years.
“Everybody should fix this. Not only they will make their house comfortable, they will also make their house more healthy because they won’t be sucking in air from attics or from the crawlspace or between the walls,” added Gupta.
According to CNBC, Aeroseal has raised nearly $30 million in venture capital from the likes of Breakthrough Energy, Energy Impact Partners, Building Ventures and 2150.
Clean Air Challenge
Earlier this year, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the launch of a new program to improve indoor air quality in buildings and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The program, dubbed the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge calls upon building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations of all kinds to assess their indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe.
According to the EPA, “infectious diseases like COVID-19 can spread through the inhalation of airborne particles and aerosols. In addition to other layered prevention strategies like vaccination, actions to improve ventilation, filtration and other proven air cleaning strategies can reduce the risk of exposure to particles, aerosols, and other contaminants, and improve indoor air quality and the health of building occupants.”
It is reported that the EPA and the White House COVID-19 Response Team consulted with the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Energy and several other Federal agencies with roles in promoting healthy indoor air quality in buildings to develop the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge.