News Release: CEE receives $535,000 from Dept of Energy to improve air-tightness in homes

Sep 20, 2016

Funding from Department of Energy's Building America program will support research to develop a practical protocol for aerosol envelope sealing

September 20, 2016, Minneapolis — Under a new grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) will carry out research designed to better integrate aerosol envelope sealing into the home building process. CEE’s research will be supported in part by a grant of $535,000 through the DOE’s Building America program, which focuses on “bringing building innovations to market.”

CEE’s grant is among $5.5 million total granted for 8 projects around the country to create healthier, more comfortable homes that will save homeowners money on their utility bills. Projects were chosen to help dramatically increase the efficiency of our nation’s homes and buildings and to encourage greater demand for new building products and technologies.

CEE's project will evaluate an envelope sealing method that uses aerosol sealant to locate, measure, and seal gaps that lead to heat loss in homes, significantly improving quality control and reducing labor costs. (A building’s “envelope” is made up of everything physical — walls, windows, doors, etc. — that separates the inside from the outside.) The project’s focus on single-family homes will build on CEE’s prior testing in multifamily buildings.

The goal is to provide the deep research needed to successfully integrate aerosol envelope sealing into the home building process. CEE’s Director of Research Dave Bohac explains, “We’ll work directly with home builders to identify the best stages to incorporate aerosol sealing into the construction process.” Costs will be measured against resulting airtightness and compared to similar homes sealed through conventional means. “By evaluating conventional sealing methods as well, we’ll be able to determine if earlier approaches can be reduced or eliminated to further improve cost effectiveness,” says Bohac.

As findings are made, Building America will help CEE disseminate successful strategies to builders through its Solution Center, which includes materials, webinars, and conference presentations. Strategies will also be shared with contractors to help them advise their builder clients on the best use of the aerosol sealing technology.

ABOUT CENTER FOR ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT. The Center for Energy and Environment is a Minnesota nonprofit that provides practical energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities. For over 35 years, CEE has offered a range of practical and cost-effective programs to help Minnesota homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and governments reduce energy waste and save money. Online at MNCEE.org

ABOUT BUILDING AMERICA. DOE’s Building America Program conducts innovative housing research on energy efficiency to benefit the residential building industry and the public. The program has produced more than 100 innovations and accelerated the adoption of energy saving technologies. Since 1995, this work has helped households across the nation save up to $54 billion and avoid the emissions of 500 million tons of carbon dioxide. DOE estimates as much as $170 in homeowner savings for every dollar spent by the Building America Program. Online at buildingamerica.gov. 

MEDIA: Contact Tim Hanrahan 612-244-2419, thanrahan@mncee.org