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Case 2

Ventilation, IAQ and Energy Impacts of Residential Mechanical Ventilation

[Persily, A. K. (1998)]

Based on concerns about indoor air quality and trends towards tighter envelope construction, there has been increasing interest in mechanical ventilation in residential buildings. A variety of ventilation approaches have been examined through both field measurements and computer simulation studies. This paper reports on a simulation study of indoor air quality, ventilation and energy impacts of several mechanical ventilation approaches in a single-family residential building. The study focused on a fictitious two-story house in Spokane, Washington and employed the multizone airflow and contaminant dispersal model CONTAM. The model of the house included a number of factors related to airflow including exhaust fan and forced-air system operation, duct leakage and weather effects, as well as factors related to contaminant dispersal including adsorption/desorption of water vapor and volatile organic compounds, surface losses of particles and nitrogen dioxide, outdoor contaminant concentrations, and occupant activities. The contaminants studied include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor, fine and coarse particles, and volatile organic compounds. One-year simulations were performed for four different ventilation approaches: a base case of envelope infiltration only, passive inlet vents in combination with exhaust fan operation, an outdoor intake duct connected to the forced-air system return balanced by exhaust fan operation, and a continuously-operated exhaust fan. Results discussed include whole building air change rates, air distribution within the house, heating and cooling loads, contaminants concentrations, and occupant exposure to contaminants.

Created March 7, 2018, Updated February 13, 2020