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Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Air Sealing at the Base of the Wall

In the fall of 1995, FOAM-TECH was contracted to solve problems at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire involving comfort, health, and energy-related issues. These problems were characterized as follows:

  • Comfort – Cold air infiltration along the base of the walls.

  • Health – Vermin and insects coming into the building at the base of the walls.

  • Mechanical systems – Frozen pipes, leaks.

  • Energy costs – Increased heating and air conditioning loads.

After testing alternative approaches, FOAM-TECH proposed the single solution of sealing the area between the foundation and the base extrusion of the wall panel system around the entire perimeter of the $228 million complex. This provided multiple benefits:

  • Enhanced comfort by achieving an air seal to prevent cold drafts.

  • Eliminated health risks posed by vermin and insects by creating a closure to prevent their entering the facility.

  • Eliminated pipe freeze-ups.

  • Reduced energy costs by achieving an air seal to eliminate air infiltration.

The approach employed by FOAM-TECH involved seven basic steps:

  1. Examine the details of the construction at the wall base (see Original Detail #1).

  2. Examine the construction from the inside and outside (see Infrared "Before" image).

  3. Determine a range of solutions.

  4. Test the possible solutions and methods (see trial run photos).

  5. Arrive at a final plan (see retrofit A indicated on original detail #2).

  6. Implement the plan around the entire perimeter.

  7. Quality assure the work using infrared to locate remaining air leakage.

Testimonial: "You really solved our problems, 100%. You can use my name and refer to this site any time. I would give anyone a tour of the facility and show them the project. None of the problems have come back, there haven’t even been any frozen pipes, although there have been plenty of opportunities for them to freeze. Your men were great. They dealt with inaccessible areas doing whatever it took to get the job done, and there was virtually no impact on our operations. There weren’t any complaints, no mess to clean up, and you were able to do all of the work from the outside."
- Joe Roberts, Engineering, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Infrared "Before" Image showing air leakage (white area) at the wall base. FOAM-TECH technicians starting the air sealing around the foundation. Top right: Looking up under Wall Base Extrusion.
Bottom right: Wall Base detail from the inside.

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