188.8.131.52 Air leakage
In cold climates, uncontrolled exchange of air between the inside and outside of a building can be responsible for up to half of the total heat loss. In hot-humid climates, air leakage can be a significant source of indoor humidity. In residential construction, installation in walls of a continuous impermeable barrier, combined with other measures such as weather-stripping, can reduce rates of air leakage by a factor of five to ten compared to standard practice in most jurisdictions in North America, Europe and the cold-climate regions of Asia (Harvey, 2006).
In addition to leakage through the building envelope, recent research in the United States has demonstrated that leaks in ducts for distributing air for heating and cooling can increase heating and cooling energy requirements by 20–40% (Sherman and Jump, 1997; O’Neal et al., 2002; Francisco et al., 2004). A technology in early commercial use in the United States seals leaks by spraying fine particles into ducts. The sticky particles collect at leakage sites and seal them permanently. This technology is cost-effective for many residential and commercial buildings; it achieves lower costs by avoiding the labour needed to replace or manually repair leaky ducts.