At Eco Brooklyn, we do energy-efficiency retrofits that involve huge amounts of air sealing, air barriers, vapor barriers and insulation. We aim for the super stringent Passive House building envelope standard and net-zero energy consumption. This is as radical it gets in energy conservation.
Sealing the home in an airtight shell requires a bit of patience and a lot of tape. You wouldn’t believe the number of tiny pinpricks that managed to perforate our plastic membrane, and their aggregate effect on air leakage is equally surprising.
Currently, there are both European and American companies that specialize in several unique kinds of tape for different stages of the envelope sealing process. Onetape, for example, has a soft fabric edge that allows the builder to plaster it airtight against masonry surfaces like brick walls. Another is made for simple, airtight patching over those small pinprick holes.
At the Harlem Passive House we used products from Siga andPro Clima. We’ve purchased custom tapes through Four Seven Five, a new distributor based in NY. 3M has some special tapes but the European products above are still much better; we hope the US companies will catch up.