Enhancing Preservation, Energy Efficiency, and Structural Integrity of Heritage Buildings through Ultrasonic Airtightness Testing

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Preserving the past while ensuring the longevity of heritage buildings requires careful attention to their structural integrity. Airtightness plays a crucial role in maintaining the performance, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort of these historical structures. 

Heritage Buildings – Treasures from the Past: 

Heritage buildings hold immense cultural, historical, and architectural value. They are a testament to the craftsmanship, design, and stories of the past. These structures provide a connection to our roots and serve as important landmarks in our communities. Preserving and maintaining heritage buildings is essential to protect our collective heritage and pass it on to future generations. 

in pic: An external view of a Heritage site.

in pic: An internal view of a Heritage site.

Air Tightness Testing for Heritage Buildings:

Air tightness testing is a critical step in assessing and enhancing the airtightness of heritage buildings. It involves evaluating the air leakage and pressure differentials within the structure to identify potential areas of concern. 

Ultrasonic Airtightness Testing – The Key to Success Without Pressurisation: 

Preserving the structural integrity and historical significance of heritage buildings poses challenges for pressurisation testing. These buildings often have delicate or aging structures that may not withstand the pressure required for testing, and their unique construction materials, such as stone and wood, may not be as airtight as modern materials. Intrusive modifications needed for pressurisation testing could harm the building’s integrity or damage valuable elements. Additionally, heritage buildings are often still in use, making it impractical to vacate and pressurise them for testing. 

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Find out more about air tightness testing

Importance of Airtightness in Heritage Buildings: 

Airtightness is of paramount importance when it comes to heritage buildings. It serves several crucial purposes that contribute to their preservation and sustainability. 

  • Energy Efficiency: Airtightness reduces air leakage, minimizing heat loss/gain and improving energy efficiency. 
  • Moisture Control: Airtightness prevents moisture ingress, preserving the building’s structural integrity and protecting valuable artifacts. 
  • Indoor Air Quality: Airtightness controls indoor air pollutants, ensuring a healthier living/work environment. 
  • Preservation of Historical Materials: Airtightness maintains stable humidity and temperature levels, preserving delicate historical materials. 
  • Structural Stability: Airtightness prevents air pressure differentials, contributing to the building’s overall structural stability. 

in pic: Portascanner® Airtight Main unit in hand

in pic: Portascanner® Airtight Main unit with wand

Ultrasonic testing is a valuable method for assessing airtightness in heritage buildings. Coltraco Ultrasonics’ Portascanner® AIRTIGHT is an advanced ultrasonic room integrity testing tool designed specifically for this purpose with its unique ability to quantify air flow rates and detect leak sites without needing to pressurise the room. The tool offers several benefits and features that facilitate efficient airtightness testing such as: 

  1. Preservation: The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT allows leak detection without pressurizing the room, preserving the building’s structural integrity and historical significance. 
  2. Structural Integrity: Delicate or aging structures in heritage buildings may not withstand the pressure required for traditional pressurization testing. 
  3. Historical Significance: Pressurization testing often requires intrusive modifications, which can compromise the historical integrity or damage valuable elements of heritage buildings. 
  4. Continuous Occupancy: Pressurization testing typically requires vacating and sealing the building, which is impractical or impossible in active heritage buildings. 
  5. Accurate Leak Detection: The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT utilizes ultrasound technology to locate leaks and calculate airflow rates accurately. 
  6. Energy Efficiency: Airtightness testing helps identify and address air leaks, improving energy efficiency by preventing heat loss and reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. 
  7. Artifact Protection: By detecting and addressing air leaks, the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT safeguards valuable artifacts and sensitive materials from potential damage caused by uncontrolled airflows. 

The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT offers several features such as the above that facilitate efficient airtightness testing in heritage buildings. Its capabilities include precise leak detection as small as 0.06mm, measurement and quantification of leaks as small as 0.5mm, calculation of air flow rates through each leak, and the ability to determine the building or room’s overall air permeability. Additionally, it stores test records with marked leak sites and allows for easy export of data and generation of comprehensive reports. 


Airtightness is a crucial aspect of maintaining heritage buildings. The advancements in ultrasonic technology, exemplified by Coltraco Ultrasonics’ Portascanner® AIRTIGHT, offer an effective solution for assessing and improving airtightness in these structures. By ensuring proper airtightness, we contribute to the preservation of heritage buildings for future generations, while also promoting energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and the overall sustainability of our built environment. 

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Coltraco Ultrasonics
NETPark Research Institute
Joseph Swan Road
TS21 3FB

United Kingdom


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