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SERDP and ESTCP have launched a webinar series to promote the transfer of innovative, cost-effective and sustainable solutions developed through projects funded in five program areas. The webinar series targets Department of Defense and Department of Energy practitioners, the regulatory community and environmental researchers with the goal of providing cutting edge and practical information that is easily accessible at no cost.


SonicLQ, The Sonic Leak Quantifier – A New Method for Measuring Building Envelope Leakage" by Dr. Ralph Muehleisen

This project supports ESTCP’s efforts to reduce the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) energy use of their building stock. It is estimated that heating and cooling air leaking into DoD buildings wastes up to 400 giga British thermal units (GBtu) of energy and $76 million annually. This presentation summarizes an ESTCP demonstration of SonicLQ, a patent-pending new device that uses sound waves to locate and quantify air leaks in building envelopes. SonicLQ locates and quantifies individual leaks, can be used in buildings of all sizes, at any time of the year, during construction, or while the building is in use. The use of SonicLQ will allow the DoD to test more buildings, with less disruption, and to prioritize sealing based upon the size of individual leaks. This demonstration compared SonicLQ measurements to blower door testing and quantified differences in performance as well as time to set up and conduct a whole building measurement. Site tests show that SonicLQ provides several benefits. A new DoD air leakage testing standard and associated documentation utilizing SonicLQ is being developed.

“Automated Aerosol-Sealing of Building Envelopes" by Mr. Curtis Harrington

DoD facilities consumed 0.2 quadrillion Btu of energy in Fiscal Year 2015 with an annual expenditure of $3.7 billion to cool, heat and power its facilities. One method for reducing heating and cooling loads in buildings is to improve the air-tightness of buildings by reducing air leakage between conditioned spaces and unconditioned spaces or the outdoors. Under the ESTCP program, this project investigated a new technology for sealing building envelopes (as well as surfaces between building spaces) that can be applied to a wide range of building types either as a retrofit or at various stages of the new-construction process. This aerosol-sealing process is capable of simultaneously measuring, locating, and sealing leaks in many types of enclosures. A number of demonstrations have been performed showing that the process can significantly reduce air leakage in buildings. The aerosol sealing process worked very well at sealing small distributed leaks, but in some cases, supplemental manual sealing was required to deal with large gaps in the existing building shells that were encountered. The average leakage reduction was 54% over all 18 demonstrations, with some of the buildings achieving as high as an 80% leakage reduction.


Speaker Biographies


Dr. Ralph Muehleisen is the Principal Building Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and the inventor of the SonicLQ technology. At Argonne, Ralph is the Building Energy Decision and Technology Research (BEDTR) section leader in the Energy Systems division and the lead of the lab-wide Urban Science and Engineering program. In these roles, Ralph leads research to increase sustainability, resiliency, reliability, and quality of life of the built environment. Ralph received a B.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1989 and his Ph.D. in Acoustics from Penn State University in 1996. He is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, an Institute of Noise Control Engineering Board Certified Noise Control Engineer, a licensed professional engineer, and a LEED accredited professional.


Mr. Curtis Harrington is a Senior Research Engineer at the University of California at Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center in Davis, California. His areas of research focus on aerosol sealing techniques for remote sealing applications, climate-appropriate cooling technologies, and evaporative cooling. He has served as project manager on seven ventilation and envelope sealing-related projects, primarily for the California Energy Commission, U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program. He developed the process and holds a patent for aerosol sealing, detecting, and marking leaks in enclosures. His work on aerosolized sealing of envelopes was featured in the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research 2013 annual report for excellence in state-sponsored energy efficiency research. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis and is a registered professional engineer in California.