DOE Building America Project Phase 1: Minnesota Report


Project Overview:

The goal of this project is to determine the best stage(s) of construction to apply AeroBarrier sealing and any current air sealing methods that can be eliminated when AeroBarrier is used. The objective is to reduce construction costs, improve house tightness, and seamlessly integrate AeroBarrier sealing into the construction process. The research project tasks have been designed to provide a step-wise, iterative procedure so that experience from initial houses is used to improve the approach for later houses. Results from the initial house assessments and demonstration of AeroBarrier sealing will be used to identify the first two sealing approaches that will be used for five to six of the builder’s houses.

As part of the house component leakage assessment, we evaluated which current sealing methods could likely be eliminated with the application of AeroBarrier sealing. This was based on an understanding of how each building component is currently sealed, whether the component air leaks would be accessible during the AeroBarrier process, and whether the leakage gaps would be small enough to be sealed by the AeroBarrier process. Table 2 below lists the 13 components that were judged to have current sealing methods that might be eliminated by AeroBarrier sealing.

This is a list of current sealing to consider for elimination for the first two approaches for this project. Other factors (e.g. likely cost savings, level of confidence in AeroBarrier sealing to achieve similar or improved tightness, impact on construction process) should also be evaluated. The meeting with project staff and builder representatives will discuss all these factors and agree on a stage of construction and what sealing will be eliminated for the next sets of houses


Table 2: Current Air Sealing That Could Possibly be Eliminated with AeroBarrier

Component Category Contractor Material Used for Sealing Quality of Seal Work
Shower/tub on exterior wall Other Carpentry OSB/Polyethylene Sheet Excellent
Stair stringer on exterior wall Other Carpentry Polyethylene Sheet Excellent
Interior Partition Wall to Exterior Wall Walls Carpentry Polyethylene Sheet/Caulk Excellent
Sill Plate Walls Carpentry Sill Seal/Caulk Acceptable
Top Plate Walls Insulation Polyethylene Sheet/Caulk Acceptable
Rough Openings Windows, Skylights and Doors Insulation Can Foam Excellent
Plumbing Penetrations Shafts & Penetrations to Unconditioned Spaces Insulation Can Foam Excellent
Piping Penetrations Shafts & Penetrations to Unconditioned Spaces Insulation Can Foam Excellent
Wiring Penetrations Shafts & Penetrations to Unconditioned Spaces Insulation Can Foam Excellent
HVAC Register Boots that Penetrate Building Thermal Envelope Other Insulation Can Foam Excellent
Rim Joist Rim Joist Insulation Closed Cell Spray Foam Excellent
Electrial/Low Voltage Boxes on Exterior Walls Other Insulation / Electrician Polyethylene Sheet/Caulk/Gasketed Boxes Excellent
Recessed Lighting Fixtures Ceiling / Attic Insulation / Electrician Polyethylene Sheet/Gasketed Fixture Excellent


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