By Alston Lim • UC Davis 2014

Mark Modera, director of the UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center, described his novel new building-sealing technology to an international audience at Washington, D.C. on April 18-19.

Modera was among 40 other top heating and air conditioning experts who took part in the AIVC (Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre) International Workshop for Building and Ductwork Airtightness conference, where he discussed the many benefits of the new aerosol process that could potentially reduce the amount of energy loss caused from building leaks by 50 percent.

The system uses a similar process to seal leaks in building envelopes by using a compressed nitrogen system to push a sealant through five nozzles. Once sprayed into a pressurized environment, the sealant becomes a foggy mist of aerosolized particles. These particles move toward wherever air is escaping and seal the leak.

“The technology has the potential to seal a building better, faster and cheaper than any manual process,” said project manager and Western Cooling Efficiency Center associate engineer Curtis Harrington. “It finds and seals the leaks for you — and, through a software system that tracks the sealing process, it provides automatic verification that it’s sealed.”

One of the cooling center’s ultimate goals with this project is to minimize leakage by as much as possible — ideally, to zero — since sealing building leaks account for about 30 percent of the energy used to heat and cool a building.

The new technology was tested recently in a Habitat for Humanity home in Stockton, Calif. on April 9. This location is the fourth in a series of homes in which the building-sealing technology has been tested since April 2012 in places like San Joaquin County and Davis.

The work is funded by the California Energy Commission.

Information about Mark Modera’s presentation

Press release

Western Cooling Efficiency Center