Energy Efficiency in Today’s Built Environment
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Across most of the U.S., somewhere between 40% to 60% of all buildings were
built before 1980, when building codes generally specified much less wall
insulation than required today.
Buildings consume approximately half (49%) of all energy used in the United
States and three quarters of all electricity, according to the U.S. Energy
Information Administration (EIA). Building energy retrofits, or the application of
energy efficient or clean energy generation measures to existing building stock,
represent a significant opportunity to save money, reduce climate impacts and
Targeting net-zero energy standards in new construction is great however,
without addressing the huge energy load in existing buildings reducing the carbon
footprint will remain elusive.
For these existing buildings infiltration, Air Leakage, is often the biggest energy
According to the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey the US had
more than 5.5 million commercial buildings of which 36% of their energy
consumption was used for heating and cooling. By increasing air tightness of
these commercial buildings as much as 52% of total energy use could be saved.
Building air tightness describes the degree of air leakage into and out of the building’s thermal enclosure which separates conditioned space from the outdoors.
Air leakage is the uncontrolled flow through the thermal enclosure due to pressure imbalances caused by wind, stack effect, and mechanical equipment. Air leakage in a building should be minimized; this goal can be effectively and consistently achieved using an air sealing strategy.
Tighter buildings are intended to increase energy efficiency, durability, occupant comfort and indoor air quality. Houses have become considerably tighter over the past couple of decades; however, the most recent energy codes mandate even more stringent air sealing and tightness requirements.
Significant savings can often be achieved with minimal risk and capital outlay by improving building operations and restructuring maintenance procedures. This process, commonly known as existing building commissioning, is generally recommended even when deeper retrofits are being considered. A nationwide study of commissioning projects by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that office buildings typically realized 22% energy savings by reducing air leakage through the building envelopment combined with other simple measures had an
average simple payback period of 1.1 years.
Energy efficiency upgrades often provide a generous return on investment. A study that reviewed nearly 200 projects in commercial buildings found the vast majority of those projects achieved an internal rate of return greater than 15% (Goldman, Hopper and Osborn, 2005).
The use of ATPG Corp Mastic to stop air leakage through the building envelope enables the upgrade to be completed quickly which not only saves on downtime, but its ease of application reduces labor costs making it highly cost effective.
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ATPG Has The Solutions for Your Structures.