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Air leakage – a niggling problem

Independent research is the answer, says expert

| | Apr 10, 2017 | 12:04 pm
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One of the niggling issues in the HVACR sector is air leakage, which impacts energy efficiency and power consumption. In the opinion of Paul Barnard, Specification Manager at Kingspan Insulation Middle East the solution lies in comprehensively understanding all the factors at hand, with authentic information obtained through independent research. He explained: “Independent research is key to understanding and educating how the air leakage of a ductwork system can affect the energy usage of a building. There are many pieces of independent research from BSRIA and Berkeley National Laboratory, among others, that demonstrate leakage causes increase in fan power of a duct system by up to 30%. Manufacturers should be commissioning independent studies to help this process of education.”

Barnard revealed that in a recent study commissioned by Kingspan Insulation in the United Kingdom, it was observed that using an air-tight ductwork system can reduce operating costs by 29%. “Specifiers should be looking for ductwork systems with a high air-leakage class to ensure low-energy buildings can be achieved,” said Barnard. In line with this, he claimed that Kingspan Insulation regularly tests its pre-insulated ductwork systems for air leakage, as per BS EN 13403: 2003 ‘Ventilation for buildings. Non metallic ducts. Ductwork made from insulation boards’.

“The tests report a Class C for Kingspan PalDuct Systems and for the Kingspan KoolDuct System, as opposed to a Class A for GI ductwork,” he said, and added, “Manufacturers should offer fabrication training for ductwork systems, to ensure that the ductwork is being fabricated in a way that ensures these air-leakage classes are upheld.”

[The writer is the Features Writer of Climate Control Middle East.]

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