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Publication Citation: U.S. Commercial Building Airtightness Requirements and Measurements

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Author(s): Steven J. Emmerich; Andrew K. Persily;
Title: U.S. Commercial Building Airtightness Requirements and Measurements
Published: October 12, 2011
Abstract: In 1998, Persily published a review of commercial and institutional building airtightness data that found significant levels of air leakage and debunked the ,mythŠ of the airtight commercial building. Since that time, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has maintained a database of measured airtightness levels of U.S. commercial building leakages, in part to support the development and technical evaluation of airtightness requirements for national and state codes, standards and programs. This paper presents the currently available airtightness data from the NIST database and a summary of recent developments in U.S. codes and standards. The average airtightness of the 228 buildings in the database of 25 m3/h∙m2 at 75 Pa is a little over 10 % tighter than the average reported by Persily in 1998. This average airtightness is tighter than the average of all U.S. houses but leakier than conventional new houses based on a large database of U.S. residential building airtightness. The data are examined for trends related to size, year of construction, type of construction and climate. The paper also discusses recent code and standards developments including the adoption of a continuous air barrier requirement in ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, various U.S. state building codes, and the proposed International Green Construction Code.
Proceedings: AIVC Conference 2011
Pages: pp. 134 - 137
Location: Brussels, -1
Dates: October 12-13, 2011
Keywords: Airtightness; air barrier; commercial buildings; energy efficiency; infiltration
Research Areas: Indoor Air Quality, Building Energy Conservation
PDF version: PDF Document Click here to retrieve PDF version of paper (255KB)