Underground Ductwork Saves Space On Projects For Increased Design Flexibility

Choose Underground Ductwork to Save Space

Underground Duct BlueDuct AQC save space with blueduct
AQC Industries’ underground ductwork, BlueDuct, during installation.

Ductwork is one of the most space-consuming components of construction for commercial and residential buildings. Duct space requirements of each project must be top of mind when designing and planning a facility. Traditional ductwork requirements may restrict an architect’s and engineer’s ability to design for the space needs of a project. The solution to this limitation is underground ductwork, which does not have the same interior or rooftop requirements as typical duct systems. BlueDuct® is the ideal underground ductwork solution; offering maximum design and function flexibility. Its underground placement and significantly reduced interior requirements make it a versatile option.

Ductwork Space Requirements

Not only does ductwork take up a lot of space, the area required to surround it needs to have ample room to hang, insulate ductwork, and ensure unobstructed airflow. This means that the space necessary to route ductwork is often much greater than the duct system itself. This design constraint goes one step further when ductwork needs to be in the conditioned space, which is for energy efficiency purposes.

Unconditioned spaces, such as attics, can reach temperatures of 150°F, making it difficult to maintain minimum supply air heat gain. This is also true for interspatial areas in commercial buildings as a design consideration. Keeping ductwork in the conditioned space means even less usable space is available for architects and their clients. These factors equate to traditional ductwork requiring dropped ceilings, soffits, attics, and other enclosed areas to conceal duct. The enclosed and hidden areas take up valuable space. Often, architects want to eliminate these unnecessary features and end up butting heads with the mechanical design engineer. Fortunately, there are ways to resolve this common issue.

save space with blueduct
St Anne & Jochim Church used BlueDuct to allow for unique architecture within the building.

Going Underground

One of the most popular ways to overcome space constraints for ductwork is going underground. Underground ductwork adds tremendous value to a project because it takes advantage of space that typically goes unused.

One way to think about this is by comparing the ratio of building volume accessible to building occupants to the overall volume of that building. For example, one building design has ductwork inside the building with soffits. The ratio of usable volume to overall volume in this building is lower than if you eliminate soffits and use underground ductwork. This adds value from an architectural standpoint, considering the fact that a building’s value is often measured in dollars per square foot. You can begin to see that higher ratios of usable space to overall space can add value to a property.

Efficient Below the Foundation

Open up the possibilities of your design by going underground with your air distribution on your next building.

You may think that going underground with duct outside the conditioned space is inefficient. While underground ductwork is outside the building envelope, this does not mean it is inefficient. Duct buried underground benefits from mild soil temperatures, which act as a natural insulator. Also notable is the R-10 TDE of BlueDuct. Underground ductwork like AQC’s BlueDuct, eliminates tension between mechanical engineers and architects where the ductwork will go. Additionally, historic buildings don’t have to sacrifice their architectural integrity for air distribution.

Ideal Applications for Underground Ductwork

AQC BlueDuct Underground Air Distribution ductwork duct
AQC’s BlueDuct under a custom-built home provides a clean look with floor-to-ceiling glass.

Underground duct systems are an excellent option in nearly any application. Custom-built homes are an ideal fit, with floor-to-ceiling windows and any number of other design choices. Architects are free to make the building meet your needs with the duct system out of the way. Office or education buildings are another application that works well for BlueDuct. Rooms can be designed for optimal ventilation, which will improve concentration, and the duct is out of sight. Additionally, natatoriums or indoor pools can be a great fit for underground duct systems, which provide flexibility in design choices. Many more applications may be a great fit to save duct space with BlueDuct.

BlueDuct’s Benefits

BlueDuct boosts energy efficiency and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) through an innovative air distribution system. BlueDuct provides long-lasting reliability below the foundation of a building. Moreover, BlueDuct composition resists mold and contaminant growth and has very low leakage ratings. When your project needs a ductwork system that is built to last, uses less space inside, and helps to maintain occupant health, use BlueDuct.


Click here or contact the team at AQC to learn more about how AQC and BlueDuct can save space for your next building project.