Apartment Compartmentalization With an Aerosol-Based Sealing Process

Timothy Merrigan, S. Maxwell, D. Berger, C. Harrington, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Air sealing of building enclosures is a difficult and time-consuming process. Current methods in new construction require laborers to physically locate small and sometimes large holes in multiple assemblies and then manually seal each of them. The innovation demonstrated under this research study was the automated air sealing and compartmentalization of buildings through the use of an aerosolizedsealant, developed by the Western Cooling Efficiency Center at University of California Davis. CARB sought to demonstrate this new technology application in a multifamily building in Queens, NY. The effectiveness of the sealing process was evaluated by three methods: air leakage testing of overall apartment before and after sealing, point-source testing of individual leaks, and pressuremeasurements in the walls of the target apartment during sealing. Aerosolized sealing was successful by several measures in this study. Many individual leaks that are labor-intensive to address separately were well sealed by the aerosol particles. In addition, many diffuse leaks that are difficult to identify and treat were also sealed. The aerosol-based sealing process resulted in an averagereduction of 71% in air leakage across three apartments and an average apartment airtightness of 0.08 CFM50/SF of enclosure area.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages48
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB), Norwalk, Connecticut, and Western Cooling Efficiency Center at the University of California, Davis, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-63665

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102015-4620


  • aerosol sealant
  • air sealing building enclosures
  • apartments
  • Building America
  • compartmentalization
  • consortium for advanced residential buildings
  • demising walls
  • dwellings
  • multifamily
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • Steven Winter Associates, Inc.
  • SWA
  • University of California at Davis
  • Western Cooling Efficiency Center


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