INDUSTRY RECOGNITION

AEROSEAL EARNS THE UL SYMBOL

Industry_RecognitionWhen it comes to standards, the UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) symbol has got to be as recognizable and respected as it gets.  When you see a product or technology that has earned the UL symbol you know it has undergone rigorous review and testing for safety and is appropriate for use as designed. And when Underwriter Laboratories creates a totally new category to accommodate your technology, you know you are entering mainstream acceptance. So welcome Aeroseal into the big time!

A new UL certification category, UL 1381 was recently added by Underwriters Laboratories. The category,  “Aerosol Duct Sealants,” was specifically created to address Aeroseal technology and ensure its inclusion as a UL certified duct sealing solution along with traditional manual sealing methods covered by UL181A and B.

“Having the UL symbol is an important criteria for lots of building contractors and others involved in choosing and approving duct sealing methodologies,” said Aeroseal’s president, Amit Gupta, “so acquiring the UL certification is a significant milestone for the company. Having a totally new category created to accommodate this new approach to duct sealing really highlights the innovative nature of the technology and underscores the rapid adoption of its use.”

While the standard is written for all aerosol duct sealants, at this point, there is only one game in town that meets the certification criteria– Aeroseal. The certification includes the sealant’s use with air ducts that are fabricated and installed in accordance with ANSI/SMACNA HVAC duct construction standards for metal and flexible ducts. According to documents from Underwriter Laboratories the aeroseal technology was tested for all various characteristics including surface burning, mold growth and humidity, erosion, interior duct burning, leakage reduction and durability.

“The list of standards bodies that have tested and approved aeroseal technology continues to grow,” said Gupta. “The UL symbol will look great among the other qualifiers that now stand behind our technology and we expect that it will be a helpful tool for anyone looking to evaluate its use.”

ON THE ROAD

Elementary School Takes Its Hat Off To Aeroseal

licking_heightsEver tried coloring with winter gloves on? It’s not easy. Just ask the last few classes of first graders who’ve passed through West Elementary School, the K-5 branch of the Licking Heights school district. Ever since the building opened its doors about seven years ago, getting heat to all wings of the east Columbus, Ohio school building was a problem. In fact, it could get so bad that some of the teachers in the distant classrooms regularly wore winter coats while teaching class. The kids often had on hats and mittens.

Every year, the temperature would take a dive, the complaints would come in and the engineers would do what they could to fix the problem – but to no avail.

What really got the attention of the school district’s new superintendent, however, was the building’s huge monthly utility bill. No one could explain why the utility bill at West Elementary was more than double that of its twin building just down the road. Both West and South Elementary schools were built around the same time and were nearly identical in design. But West Elementary was burning twice the energy of South Elementary.

“We brought in Heapy Engineering to commission the buildings and do a thorough evaluation of everything that might effect performance,” said Dr. Philip Wagner, superintendent, Licking Heights School District.  “What we discovered was that we had some real issues with the ductwork at West Elementary. Testing results indicated that the HVAC system at South Elementary was running at about 12% efficiency – which is bad enough. But that was still twice as effective as the 6% efficiency rating we were getting at West Elementary. A thermal scan of the building along with other investigatory activities clearly showed we were losing most of our heated air through leaks in the ductwork.”

With the cause of the problem identified, the search began for a solution.  Proposal requests went out to a variety of HVAC and mechanical shops. In the end, the school board listened to three presentations from three different firms offering three different solutions.

The first mechanical company proposed taking apart and then properly reassembling the building’s entire duct system. The work would have to be done at night and on weekends so as not to disturb the regular operations of the school or create safety concerns. The good news was that the ductwork was under a tiled ceiling so the ducts could be accessed without having to tear down and rebuild walls. The ceiling tiles could be manually disassembled and then put back together once the project was complete.

The not so good news was that this approach would take several months to finish. Each morning, the equipment would have to be put away and ceiling tiles replaced before children arrived for school. At an estimated cost of around $300,000, this approach would put a real strain on the district’s operational budget. Results, as indicated from the low efficiency ratings of the other school buildings, were not guaranteed.

Another option involved the use of robotics and manual sealing. Small mechanical cameras would be sent inside the ductwork to identify the larger leaks. Caulking-type mastic would be used to seal the leaks identified with the optical unit. While technologically impressive, this approach offered little advantage over a total reconstruction and it provided little relief from a budgetary standpoint.

The third option presented to the school board involved the use of Aeroseal duct sealing.

“I was familiar with Aeroseal from a duct sealing project I was involved in at Ohio State University,” said Tony Furst, solutions engineer at Bruner Corp, one of the presenting HVAC and mechanical solutions providers invited to submit a proposal.  “I saw first-hand how well it worked sealing the ductwork at one of the university’s new dormitories and I knew it would be the ideal solution for Licking Heights.”

The next step was to convince Dr. Wagner and the rest of the school board that Aeroseal was the right choice.

“Honestly, for me, Aeroseal technology was originally the dark horse of the three options presented to us,” said Wagner. “My experience has taught me that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I was told the Aeroseal approach would take days – not months to complete. It would be virtually non-disruptive, and it was about half the cost of the other options. All this sounded good – but I had never heard of this technology before and it sounded to me to be more of a temporary fix rather than a permanent solution.”

To convince Wagner and the other board members otherwise, Furst, with the assistance of Aeroseal, shared with them examples of other successful Aeroseal projects.

“What really sold me was a strong guarantee and even stronger references from other school administrators that previously had enjoyed great success with the duct sealing technology,” said Wagner. “In the end, we decided to give it a try.”

With contract in hand, the Bruner Aeroseal team arrived on the first Saturday kicking off the Christmas holiday season. The three-man crew had about two weeks to complete the entire project before children returned to school. They began by dividing the 50,000 CFM duct system into 12 sections to be sealed individually.

The Results

There are several ways to talk about results on a project like this. First the numbers:

Before aerosealing began, the system’s two fans were running at 100%, 100% of the time. Not only did this require a significant amount of energy, but the sound caused by the fan was so disruptive that there were classrooms that were underutilized because of the distracting noise.

After Aeroseal, the fans were turned back on and adjusted to about 60%. During one of the coldest winters in Ohio’s history, the fans have yet to be turned up more than this original 60 percent.

It is estimated that the school will save about $11,266 /year on electricity alone -  just from the reduced fan usage.

On the supply side of the system, the school estimates a leakage reduction of about 20,000 CFM. Computer-calculations show that in several cases, a single section of ductwork realized a reduction of 3,000 CFM or more. A similar pattern was found on the return side of the system with leakage rates being reduced by as much as 3, 111 CFM – a total reduction of 37%.

By reducing duct leakage, it is estimated that the school will save 944 MCF/year (volume of 1,000 cubic feet (cf) ) in natural gas for a cost savings of another $34,000/year. The school calculates that the entire project will pay for itself in about three years. After that, they are looking at an annual budget savings of about $45,000 for energy costs.

“We estimate that in the seven or so years that this building has been in operation, we’ve lost well over half a million dollars in wasted energy costs,” said Wagner. The Aerosealed ductwork will reverse this trend and begin putting money back into the budget.”

But what about other measurements of success?

“When we went back to visit the school, we were greeted as heroes,” said Furst. “Several teachers told us that they were comfortable in their classroom for the very first time. A class of first graders thanked us for making it warm.”

According to Wagner, the results were immediately noticeable. The treated air now reaches all the rooms. Teachers are no longer giving lessons with their coats on. Children aren’t wearing their hats in the classroom. And the fan isn’t running nearly as long or as hard as it used to, so the noise problem has disappeared.

“This project was one of the smoothest projects we’ve ever had done at this school,” said Wagner. “It was completed on time and within budget. We needed a safe a secure space ready for the return of children after the holidays and we got it. It’s met every expectation and then some.”

Due to the success of this initial project, the school district is looking at having its other buildings aerosealed. While West Elementary was particularly problematic, tests revealed that each and every building in the school system could benefit from having its ducts sealed.

I entered this project a skeptic,” said Wagner, “but finished it a complete believer. I am even considering having my house Aerosealed.”

CHANGING THE RULES

Aeroseal Puts Duct Sealing On The Radar

A_Changing_The_RulesWhen it comes to energy savings, aerosol-based duct sealing has really changed the rules. If you look at a list of energy-saving tips from five to six years ago offered by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) experts, the idea of duct sealing was virtually absent. Instead, we were told that projects such as replacing windows or insulating walls were the most effective strategies for saving home energy.

It’s not that the experts didn’t know that leaks in the ductwork were perhaps the single biggest source of home energy waste, it’s just that there really wasn’t an effective solution to the problem. Sure, you could use tape or mastic to manually seal some of the leaks. But most of the ductwork is located behind drywall, under insulation or simply impossible to reach.  So the problem was virtually ignored and the advice given to homeowners continued to focus on turning off lights and investing in Energy Star appliances. We were resigned to living in a world where the average home lost about 30 percent of its heating and cooling energy through leaks in the ductwork.

It was this gnawing reality that set the wheels in motion for the search of an effective solution. Around 1994, the DOE got together with the EPA, several utilities and others to invest in the research needed to finally solve this problem. They asked the scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to come up with a way to seal leaks throughout the duct system – even those that were hidden behind walls or that were otherwise unreachable. In addition, the solution had to be safe for use inside occupied homes. It had to work without negative interference with the proper operations of HVAC systems.  It had to be easy to apply and it had to be cost effective to use.

Quite a tall order.  You can only imagine how daunting a task this mission originally appeared to the LBNL team assigned to come up with a solution.

Now that Aeroseal technology has arrived, the answer seems almost obvious. But it took real innovative thinking to literally flip the problem inside out in order to solve the problem. While traditional duct sealing methods worked by covering leaks from the outside of the ductwork, the new approach would be the first and only solution to seal leaks from inside the ducts. From there, the science gets even more amazing (and beyond the scope of this piece) but suffice it to say, the final solution met all the criteria set out by the EPA and others. Aeroseal technology is safe. It doesn’t coat the interior of the ductwork – just the leaks. It’s very effective and it pays for itself in 2.5 – 7 years (compared to windows at 70 years and wall insulation at 90).

But what about that list of ways to reduce home energy use?

While duct sealing still is not on top of the list for most energy-conscious Americans, it’s quickly getting there. Now that there is an effective and affordable solution, the rules – and the lists – include this new reality.

Over the past couple of years, scores of utility companies have begun, for the first time, to offer rebates to customers that seal their ductwork. Many of these programs tie the amount of rebate directly to the amount of energy savings so homeowners have an added incentive to use Aeroseal.

With the introduction of Aeroseal, The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), a government program to help businesses save energy, ranks aerosol-based duct sealing in the top ten most effective strategies for saving energy. It’s ranked the third most effective and affordable HVAC-specific strategy,  just under condensing boilers and commercial ground source heat pumps.

Other examples of duct sealing that is rocketing to the top of today’s energy-efficiency strategies is the Building Performance Institute’s (BPI) recent addition of aerosol duct sealing to its standard for residential energy efficient construction, and the technology’s addition by Home Innovations Labs as a National Green Building Standard (NGBS) product.

Times change and innovation rules the world. That is certainly the case when it comes to energy efficiency. With effective duct sealing technology like Aeroseal now a reality, duct sealing has quickly risen to the top of the list of things we can do to reduce energy costs. It’s easy to have done, it’s highly effective and it provides one of the fastest ROI’s you’ll find for any home improvement project. Something to consider the next time you’re paying your utility bill.

TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS

Consistency: A Key For Growth

ConsistencyBack in 2005, when most HVAC businesses were struggling, Greg McAfee grew his company, McAfee Heating & Air Conditioning of Dayton, Ohio, by more than 45%. In fact, in the 23 years since it first opened its doors for business, McAfee has realized growth every single year. That includes growth of 20% or more each year since 2008.

If you’re wondering how he did it, you wouldn’t be the only one. So, along with his own HVAC business, McAfee, for the past several years, has been providing consultation to other HVAC business owners looking for similar success. In 2009, he presented his first Boot Camp, a 2-day business training session that includes an inside, confidential look into McAfee Heating & Air Conditioning.

With a new Boot Camp scheduled for early April and another later in the year, I caught up with Greg McAfee and asked him for an inside tip – just one suggestion he could give HVAC shop owners who are looking to grow their business. His reply was encapsulated in a single word…consistency.

“Consistency is critical for business success, “ said McAfee. “It applies to all aspects of your business and can often be the biggest differentiators between you and your competition.”

He went on to illustrate his point.

According to McAfee, it begins with how you conduct your operations and instruct your employees. It’s as simple as getting to work on time and consistently giving 100% each day.

“I vividly remember a lesson I learned twenty years ago,” said McAfee. “I sold a HVAC system to a restaurant owner and arrived at his door for the install 10 minutes late. When I finally got him to open the door, he just looked at me and said that if I were in the restaurant business I would not survive. It really had an effect on me.”

Greg found that consistently being on time and consistently giving 100% on the job each and every day makes a huge difference in results. It’s not the ten minutes more that you spend on the job, it’s the attitude that consistent promptness creates. The same goes for work ethics. McAfee has found that giving the same 100% every day, the same cheerfulness, the same attention to customer service, creates a work environment that inevitably leads to success.

“Giving 100% is what our customers pay for,” said McAfee. “It’s what my employees get paid to deliver. If you had a long night or an argument at home and came to work giving only 70 percent, does that mean you should only earn 70% of your day’s wages?”

The concept of consistency also refers to your business’s working structure. It means having consistent and regular meetings, regular training sessions, regular employee reviews. McAfee points out that the business owner sets the culture for the entire company. If the owner is late to the office and misses scheduled meetings, he sends a signal to the rest of the company that this is ok. And if you’re looking to grow, it’s simply not.

Of course, staying consistent is a nice concept, but not always so easy to follow. McAfee offers three tips for staying on course.

  1. Arrive early. Come in earlier than the rest of your team. Not only does this set a good example, but it provides you with the free time you need to plan your day.
  2. Set goals. Daily goals; monthly goals; annual goals. They may be as simple as “hold regular meetings with my staff” or as lofty as “purchase a new building by the end of the year.” What ever they are, WRITE THEM DOWN. “Half the battle is won when you write your goals down and keep them visible,” said McAfee.
  3. Hire people that can help you. As you start to grow, you need to hire help. You simply cannot do it all yourself. And until you get assistance, you will not be able to redirect your energy to building the business.

“Hiring people to help is often difficult,” said McAfee, “but it really comes down to trust. I find that businesses that remain 3-person shops typically have trust issues. When they finally do let go, they usually find their fears unfounded and that the new hire meets or exceeds all expectations.”

McAfee points out that consistency also refers to the company’s image. He strongly recommends that employees have consistent uniforms, consistent grooming standards, and consistently maintained service vehicles.”

“Consistency like this instills confidence in your customers,” said McAfee. When they see that your installers are always well groomed and that the truck is neat and clean, they have the confidence needed to invite you into their home. In the eyes of the customer, consistency equals professionalism and that in turn builds trust, a critical characteristic for success.”

Lastly, McAfee recommends consistency in marketing. All aspects of a marketing campaign – billboards, radio ads, print ads – all use similar messages and graphics. Logos are the same. Tag lines are the same.

“For two years, all our marketing used the same slogan ‘8 to 8 – same great rate’ and we are now known throughout the area as the 8 to 8 guys. Consistency in our message, over time, allowed us to create a brand recognized by our customers,” said McAfee.

“Most importantly, said McAfee, “you need to be consistently looking forward. Research shows that most of us spend 70% of our time thinking about yesterday, 25% thinking about today and only 5% focused on tomorrow. Real success comes when we turn that around. Visualize where you want to be. Write down your goals and consistently plan for tomorrow.”

You can learn more about Greg McAfee’s HVAC Boot Camp, his consultancy, and his HVAC business, including his company’s Aeroseal service by visiting www.gregmcafee.com.

EVENTS CALENDAR

Webinars, Tradeshows, Demos and More

Attention all HVAC dealers and commercial service providers!
Join us for a free seminar and live demo and learn how Aeroseal can help you grow your business by quickly and easily adding energy savings and indoor comfort to the list of professional services you offer your customers.

Check the list of upcoming seminars below.
To RSVP for a seminar/demo call: 877-349-3828(Fix-Duct) or RSVP@AEROSEAL.COM.

For other locations where you’ll find Aeroseal, check the list of upcoming events below. Additional events and dates can be found at www.aeroseal.com/news-events/events.html.

DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL

dont-touch-that-dialAeroseal To Be Featured This Month On Ask This Old House

It’s one thing to have an Aeroseal dealer tell a homeowner how wonderful aerosol duct sealing is for their house. It’s so much more effective to have a neighbor tell a neighbor about the wonderful experience they’ve had using Aeroseal. And then it’s infinitely more effective still when a trusted and respected industry professional tells a homeowner that it’s good stuff.

So if you have potential customers you think will benefit from hearing about Aeroseal from a trusted third party, be sure they are sitting in front of the television later this month.  On March 20th the crew from the PBS program Ask This Old House will be taking a close look at duct leaks and the use of Aeroseal to increase home comfort and reduce energy waste.

Ask This Old House is the follow up program to This Old House. Together, these two shows represent the first and most-trusted programs about home renovation and remodeling. On Ask This Old House, the show’s team of experts tackles specific questions and concerns submitted by viewers.  In episode #1220, they visit a Boston-area home to assist a young couple who is looking to improve their home’s room-to-room comfort issues as well as reduce high energy bills.

I haven’t seen the final cut yet, but I was there for the taping and know that the show’s HVAC expert, Richard Trethewey was really impressed with the Aeroseal technology. He had his sleeves rolled up and was thoroughly engaged with the Aeroseal crew from Boucher Energy, Aeroseal dealer from Mendon, MA, who were brought in to manage the project. Trethewey asked all the right questions, pointed out all the right issues and came to all the right conclusions at the end of the sealing process.

So you may want to get the word out. Let your customers know they can learn more about Aeroseal on Ask This Old House – and then perhaps follow up with a phone call to see if they have any questions.  Hey, I have an idea! I was just talking to an Aeroseal dealer in Tennessee who is knocking on doors and talking about duct sealing. How about handing out a free package of microwave popcorn and suggesting that the homeowner tune in to the program?  That should be a welcomed opener! Then follow up after the program with an offer to inspect their duct system.

Be sure to check out the specific airtime for your exact location. The program is officially slated to air March 20th in many markets, but some PBS affiliate stations may decide to run it at a different time. You can find out the exact date and time by checking the program schedule for your area by visiting http://www.thisoldhouse.com/tvschedule and looking for Season 12; Episode 20.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Sign_Of_The_Times2Countdown Begins For California’s New Mandatory Duct Sealing Requirements

“As California goes, so goes the nation.” This popular saying has proven accurate time and time again – from regulating smoking in restaurants to automobile omission levels.  Now, for building managers, contractors and residential HVAC pros alike, the writing is on the wall when it comes to duct sealing, too.

Starting July 1, new mandatory standards in permissible duct leakage rates and testing take effect in California and it will prove to be a real game changer for most anyone building a home, business facility or apartment building in the state.  The new California Energy Commission (CEC) Title 24 regulatory document, pertaining to building energy efficiency standards, now includes mandatory testing for most ductwork in new construction or in the repair of duct systems in low-rise residential buildings, nonresidential buildings, high-rises and hotels/motels.

Not only will duct system testing be mandatory, but results from these tests must document new squeaky-tight results. In most cases, newly installed duct systems must prove to have a leakage rate of six percent or less. When alterations are made to existing duct systems, the ductwork must not exceed leakage rates of more than 15 percent.

“We know from practical day-to-day experience that these tougher new standards will be an obstacle for a lot of contractors doing business as usual,” said Aeroseal’s Neal Walsh. “The fact is most structures today – both commercial and residential buildings – lose on average 20 to 40 percent through leaks in the ductwork. Meeting these new standards will require more than a larger role of duct tape.”

According to specialists familiar with aerosol-based duct sealing technology, it’s the technology itself that has been at least partially responsible for driving these new higher standards.

“Prior to Aeroseal, meeting these tighter standards in duct leakage would simply have been impossible,” said Walsh, “and that means meeting the new mandatory requirements will just about necessitate the use of Aeroseal as well.  The Aeroseal system provides the most cost effective means to both test and seal according to the new standards. And that’s good news for Aeroseal service providers as well as the state of California.”

California’s leading role in setting energy-efficient building standards continues to have a huge positive impact on the state’s residents and on its business community. To date, the CEC standards have saved Californians more than $74 billion in reduced electricity bills since 1977. The Commission’s 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards is expected to save them $1.6 billion more in energy costs over the next 30 years.

“The new standards covering everything from duct leakage to lighting, better windows and insulation will lead to one of the best investments a building owner can make,” said Walsh. “If a homeowner spends $2,300 on duct sealing and other energy-saving improvements, he can expect a return of more than $6,200 in energy savings for his single-family home with a 30-year mortgage. For commercial property owners this savings is even more pronounced.”

Once again, California is taking a lead position in enacting the types of regulations that help move the country forward. In just a few short months, some of America’s toughest standards in duct sealing efficiency will become mandatory and, as a result, the use of new technologies like Aeroseal will quickly become standard practice.

As California goes, so goes the nation… and so goes the need for Aeroseal.

Experience In The Field

In_The_Field_1Scoring A Big Commercial Project One Step At A Time

We have a valuable story to relay to you. One that illustrates the potential opportunities that Aeroseal is providing HVAC specialists and, perhaps more importantly, one that highlights some critical insights into best practices of landing that large account.

If you’re a commercial contractor, landing large and lucrative duct sealing projects is easier today than ever before. Most major organizations are actively seeking ways to reduce energy consumption and cut operational costs. At the same time, government incentive programs like The Better Building Challenge, utility rebates and the rising cost of energy in general are all help to motivate businesses to act now.

Still, landing  initial deals for a new product takes  special know-how and extra effort. While Aeroseal continues to rank as one of the most effective and cost-effective applications for saving energy, and has many work examples and case studies, it remains relatively new and unfamiliar to many building managers. So getting your foot in the door and closing the deal  is usually best accomplished a step at a time.

In this example, an Aeroseal rep was focused specifically on the medical industry. A short list of potential targets for opportunity included the largest not-for-profit medical group practice in the world – if you’re going to go for the gold, you might as well aim as high as possible, right? Realizing that chances were pretty good that this medical complex was most likely interested in reducing operational costs and already engaged in energy-saving initiatives, the Aeroseal rep made an initial call to the head of the medical facility’s building management.

“I knew this person gets a lot of calls like mine, so my initial objective was to get the person’s attention and to build credibility fast,” said Aeroseal’s Randy Williams. “After getting permission to take a few minutes of this person’s time, I mentioned that I wanted to talk to him about an energy-saving technology awarded Best New Technology from the U.S. Department of Energy. I knew I had to build credibility fast and the DOE is about as credible as it comes. So that bought me a few extra minutes to build a rapport.”

Over the course of this first conversation, Williams was able to accomplish his initial goals: introduce Aeroseal technology, introduce Aeroseal to the company and schedule a time to introduce Aeroseal and discuss what Aeroseal can do for the medical complex.

“I told the facility manager that I wanted him to invite his biggest critics to this first meeting,” said Williams. “A new technology like Aeroseal usually evokes a lot of hard-hitting questions and I wanted to make sure we addressed them all, and won over the hardest skeptics right from the start. And that’s exactly what happened.”

If the first objective was to introduce Aeroseal and schedule an appointment for an introductory meeting, the second objective was to leave that meeting with an agreement to conduct a pilot program.

“Department managers aren’t typically the biggest risk takers and this is still a new technology for most,” said Aeroseal’s Bobby Seals. “If you go for a close on a huge project right out of the gate, you really limit your chance of success. We find it’s often smarter to let the new business partner get his or her toe wet with a “proof of concept” project first. We know Aeroseal works and that the results will exceed expectations. So this initial projects gives the new partner the confidence he or she needs to buy off on a larger endeavor down the road.”

In that initial meeting, the medical facility’s administrators agreed to a pilot test project to seal a relatively small exhaust ventilation shaft that ran vertically down several floors of the facility’s main building. Mavo Systems, duct cleaning specialists with a long standing relationship with the medical facility, was brought in to assist with the project and eventually take over any future sealing operations.

“We were already planning to add Aeroseal duct sealing to our lineup of services so when we had an occasion to get in on a project involving one of our long-standing clients, the timing was ideal,” said Mavo System’s Mark Litchke. “We were already familiar with the medical facility’s duct system and have experience cutting into and blocking ducts. Aeroseal really is a natural path for our business expansion.”

The pilot project went off without a hitch. Administrators of the medical facility observed as the Aeroseal/Mavo team prepped the ductwork and then sealed the leaks. A live computer-generated graph showed the reduction of leakage as the sealant was blown into the inside of the ductwork and the leaks were sealed.

“Perhaps most impressive was a dime-size hole on the ductwork that was clearly visible to observers,” said Litchke. “Everyone watched as the Aeroseal sealant sealed the hole from the inside. It took about ten minutes to completely fill.”

The entire project took about 4 hours to complete – from prep to teardown of equipment. The sealing system’s computer showed that Aeroseal sealed 87% of the leaks – from 350 CFM of leakage down to less than 50 CFM. The facility managers conducted their own third-party testing and verified these impressive results.

“This pilot project was a good experience with great results,” said the head of the clinic’s facility operations. “In my many years of experience I’ve found that a lot of the claims I hear from various vendors are little more than snake oil, so I usually remain skeptical until I see the results for myself. In this initial project, the technology worked without a hitch.”

Based upon the success of this initial pilot project, the medical facility administrators are proceeding with plans for larger Aeroseal applications

“Aeroseal actually worked and it got our intrigue,” said the head of operations. “We are putting together a second project design to complete our confidence in what it could do – then we certainly have a pretty large application for it throughout our campus.”

“This is an example of success through steps,” said Williams. “Aeroseal is clearly the right technology at the right time.” Williams says that the biggest challenge for new Aeroseal service providers is taking the initial step; he quotes a favorite Chinese Proverb: “To get through the journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.” For those that are willing to invest a bit of energy, the opportunities are there for the taking.

AGENCY INSIGHTS

Agency_InsightsThe Anatomy of Tradeshow Success Part II

In last month’s issue of the Aeroseal Insider, we began to review some fundamental strategies for maximizing the success of tradeshow exhibition participation. After speaking with dozens of Aeroseal dealers, researching practical study results and spending hundreds of hours (and dollars) on the showroom floor, a variety of best practices begin to emerge. In Part I we reviewed issues related to booth set-up, banner displays, messaging and participation. In this Part II we’ll look at other fundamental considerations.

The Objective
It’s important from the start, to identify your specific objective for the tradeshow. What do you hope to accomplish? How will you measure your success? While we all want to close deals and make sales, the chance of doing that on a showroom floor is fairly limited – so perhaps you’ll want to consider an interim step – one that will lead to that close a bit further down the road. Collecting qualified leads may be one objective. Scheduling free home inspections may be another.  Once you have a realistic goal in place, all other decisions should be based upon your ability to meet this objective.

Engaging
Perhaps the most significant indicator of tradeshow success will be your ability to engage with attendees. You can have a great booth, inspiring banners and enticing flyers to handout to everyone that passes by, but if you don’t initiate a meaningful conversation, it’s all little more than window dressing. In many cases, tradeshow “shoppers” are on guard against aggressive sales, so getting eye contact – let alone initiating a meaningful conversation – can be tough.

One popular tradeshow tactic for initiating a conversation is to provide visitors with a fun, interactive activity that draws them to your booth. A contest for instance, may get their initial attention and provide you with a non-threatening way to begin a conversation. Have a drawing for a free duct inspection or have visitors spin a wheel for prizes. Keep in mind that, generally speaking, women are more likely to enter contests then men. Also, home and garden shows often draw families so you may want to consider an activity that is fun for the kids.

Once they are at your booth, you can begin to engage. Questions regarding their room-to-room comfort or high utility bills can open the door to the broader topic of duct sealing. Keep in mind that few attendees come to the show to learn about their ducts. It’s your job to make the connection between their desires (room comfort, energy savings, healthy air) and your solution to their problem.

Collateral
You have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to stocking your booth with literature and other sales collateral. Keep it simple. Consider your objective. Don’t expect to make everyone experts at duct sealing – remember your objective is to get them to sign up for your show special (whatever that may be). Here are some things to consider having on hand.

  • Signage: whether it’s a banner or a table sign, you want to make sure everyone passing by your booth knows you have a special limited time offer they will miss if they don’t do something now.
  • Brochure: it’s good to have an overview of the technology and the process. If you can, don’t simply hand these out, but review them first with the attendee. If they seem interested, have them take it home. If possible, customize them with your company name and telephone number.
  • Information sheet: Again, this can be on a side banner, a handout flyer or signage. Designed to provide fast, basic information about the problem/solution. Third party quotes provide credibility. Facts and figures regarding energy savings help legitimize.
  • Case studies: Do you have examples of happy Aeroseal customers? A one pager highlighting the success can be invaluable, especially if it includes a testimonial from or photo of the happy customer.
  • Video: Videos can provide valuable testimonials from customers and industry experts and illustrate a process that is difficult to explain and answer lots of questions in a non-threatening manner. If you want to show a video (and there are several good ones available for download on the Aeroseal website), we recommend using a laptop and setting the player to repeat. This is also a tool to be used to reinforce what you are talking to them about. It will be much less effective as a projected backdrop or simply left running without explanation or engagement.
  • Giveaways: It’s not a bad idea to offer visitors inexpensive giveaways such as a furnace/refrigerator magnet with your logo and phone number. They are popular and help remind attendees about your service well after the event is over.

After The Show
A well-planned tradeshow does not have to end when the visitors are gone and the doors are closed. Consider strategies to extend the value of the tradeshow beyond its operational hours.

One strategy for doing this also provides a nice way to measure your success. Your show special may include a popular giveaway or discounted service. Create a postcard-sized handout for visitors that explains the giveaway and provides a web page for learning more. Now, when the visitor goes home, he or she can visit the website by filling out a simple information form. The form provides you with a lead to follow up on.  It can ask questions that provide you with insights you can use on your sales call (i.e. do all rooms in your house get enough hot air in the winter? Does anyone in your home suffer from allergies?).

These “Glimmer” sites (Generate Leads/Measure Results) serve a variety of purposes. They extend the lead generation time of the tradeshow and allow you to measure success based upon the response you get after the show. They can provide more detailed information about your products and services and they allow visitors, who are often reluctant to make decisions at the shows themselves, to reconsider their options. And they let you measure the success of the show based upon the number of visitors the site receives.

Glimmer sites can be relatively inexpensive to create and post. They need not be more than a page or two large. They should not be cluttered with extraneous information, but instead focused on a single topic and a single goal.

Participating at tradeshows can be an expensive proposition, so you’ll want to make sure that you do everything you can to maximize your success. For many Aeroseal dealers, tradeshows prove well worth the investment and a major source of generating new business.

Are you planning on exhibiting at a tradeshow? We’d love to hear about it. Let us know what works and what doesn’t.  We’ll be sure to pass it along.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKING…HARD

A huge opportunity for Aeroseal dealers has just gotten even bigger

Growing-Opportunity“Reduce energy use by 20% by 2020.” That was the original objective of the Better Buildings Challenge, a program first launched by the Obama Administration in December 2011.  But what began as a federal government program aimed at reducing energy waste in government buildings was recently extended to include commercial buildings, industrial plants and multi-family housing. In all cases, the Better Buildings Challenge offers incentives and tools for building owners to make dramatic energy-saving improvements to their building(s). And while that alone is good news for Aeroseal commercial service providers, it gets even better.

One of the tools being offered to help participants save energy is a government-generated list of recommended energy-saving options. The list includes an overall effectiveness/ROI score for each technology on the list. Guess what technology ranks in the top 10 of all recommended energy-saving options?

“Aerosol duct sealing technology is ranked #3 on the Federal Energy Management Program’s (FEMP) matrix for all recommended HVAC-related improvements,” said Aeroseal’s Bobby Seals, “and it ranks in the top ten among all categories. Aeroseal technology is clearly highlighted as one of the best means of achieving this virtual mandate to federal agencies. And, now that the private sector is getting in on the challenge, they too are looking at how Aeroseal can help.”

To make it even easier to find and close deals, Aeroseal commercial service providers don’t even have to guess which companies and organizations are actively looking to achieve substantial energy savings. Those that join the challenge do so publicly. The growing list of participants (now more than 120 organizations) include some of the biggest companies – from Macy’s and Best Buy to Starbucks and Sprint and from Ford Motor Company to Walgreens. The list includes state and municipal agencies, corporate partners, schools, cities and now multi-family residential partners.

“So you have a list of large organizations that have publicly declared they want to reduce energy usage, and Aeroseal is being endorsed as one of the best means of achieving that goal.  If a commercial Aeroseal service provider was finding it difficult to open the door to some of the larger accounts, this should kick it wide open. ” said Seals.

Growing Fast

In the first year of the program alone, more than 50 showcase projects and nearly 40 implementation models from the private sector have been launched. More than $1.1 billion (about 2/3rds of committed financing) has been extended to energy-efficiency projects.

While the federal government doesn’t spend tax dollars on the program, it does provide a number of incentives for businesses to sign up for the challenge and report on their progress. It also provides coordinating efforts that bring financial and utility allies together to make it as easy as possible for partners to meet their energy-savings goal. Best of all, it seems to be working.

Here are some good links to learn more:
Better Buildings Challenge
The addition of multifamily housing
U.S. Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)
List of Technologies for Deployment
List of organizations participating in the Challenge
(See section; Better Buildings Challenge Partners)