In today’s residential marketplace, air sealing has become a fundamental part of the home building equation. As building codes and Home Energy Rating System (HERS) targets have evolved, so too has the need for builders to incorporate air sealing into the build equation.
Of course, not all air leaks are created equal. Knowing where and how to air seal will save you money, time and resources on a job. Recent data from a comprehensive industry study has yielded new insights into the role of air sealing in high performance building that can equate to savings for builders and homeowners.
To identify the joints and openings that have maximum impact when sealed, Owens Corning’s Building Science team conducted a comprehensive 12 month study that recorded and measured where and how air leakage occurs in a typical home.
This extensive research conclusively confirmed that joints associated with the wall cavities, which is where spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is often applied, are not the major sources of air leakage. As a result, it is better understood that insulating and air sealing are two separate building considerations when achieving the goal of high performance.
Using laboratory and real-house measurements, the air infiltration research quantified the leakage quantities and characteristics around 17 of the most critical joints and openings commonly found in a home where air is most likely to enter and escape through vulnerable gaps, cracks and seams.
The researchers used fan pressurization to measure which leaks have the biggest impact on reducing the blower door number. The findings were then grouped into three categories – those areas that provide a significant, moderate and minimal result for the air sealing investment in terms of achieving the best blower door result.
Armed with this new data, building professionals can pair a more targeted air sealing and insulation strategy with product solutions designed to gain a competitive advantage.
For example, Owens Corning’s EnergyComplete® Sealant features a flexible composition designed to expand to easily fill gaps and cracks. As the only foamed-in-place air sealing solution that can be applied pre-drywall to create a durable gasket between all top plates, EnergyComplete® Sealant helps builders meet the new IECC 2012 code requirements.
For more information, visit THE JOURNAL OF LIGHT CONSTRUCTION.