Heating and cooling buildings accounts for 30 percent of energy used in buildings, so scientists at University of California’s Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center have been working on a new technology for sealing buildings. Sealing buildings to eliminate leaks involves a lot of guessing to locate the leak. Since guessing take up a lot of time and can be inaccurate, the researchers at the center came up with a aerosol sealing technology that can reduce leaks by up to 50 percent. They are still working to improve the system and get a 100 percent sealing rate. This new system eliminates having someone running around with a caulking gun sealing leaks, but instead uses a compressed nitrogen system. The compressed air system pushes a sealant into a pressurized room and once the sealant is inside the room it turns into a foggy mist. Once the mist is in the room, it moves towards where air is escaping through cracks and crevices and seals that leak. The researchers say that this new technology takes about an hour to seal a 1,200 square foot room and seals better, faster, and cheaper compared to the conventional manual process.
An interesting thing about this technology is that it is a builds on a system that the university developed for sealing ducts. They used a similar process of spraying particles into a duct and just made it bigger to be able to handle sealing a room.
I find it interesting on how we can take technology available for small applications and use it for something bigger like sealing an entire room from infiltration/leaks. All it takes is some thinking to look at what systems we have available and what we can modify to operate on a larger scale.