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Airflow and Indoor Air Quality Models of DOE Prototype Commercial Buildings



Lisa C. Ng, Amy Musser, Andrew K. Persily, Steven J. Emmerich


An previous report, NIST Technical Note 1734, Airflow and Indoor Air Quality Models of DOE Reference Commercial Buildings [1], detailed the CONTAM models of the 16 U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) reference commercial building models. DOE developed the EnergyPlus building models for use in assessing new technologies and supporting the development of energy codes in pursuing building energy efficiency improvements. The DOE commercial reference buildings were developed to represent buildings that were constructed before 1980, constructed between 1980- 2003, and constructed in 2004. Further details on the DOE reference building models can be found in Deru, et al. (2). Since the release of the DOE reference building models, updates have been made by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) so that the modeled buildings comply with newer versions of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). These building models are referred to as the prototype buildings, rather than the reference buildings. Thus, NIST Technical Note 1734 is updated in this report to reflect the changes to the CONTAM models to match the prototype buildings that comply with ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013. Updates to the NIST Technical Note 1734 are denoted by red text in this document. In general, the building geometry and layout of the prototype buildings are the same as the reference buildings. There were minor changes to the layout of the Large Office only. In addition, both the commercial and prototype building models contain 16 building types. However, the reference buildings include the Supermarket while the prototype buildings include a Highrise Apartment. All CONTAM models of the prototype buildings required updates to the building envelope airtightness, ventilation airflow rates, ventilation system operation, occupancy, and thermostat setpoint schedules.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 2072
Report Number


Airflow, energy, CONTAM, EnergyPlus, prototype buildings, ventilation, building simulation


Ng, L. , Musser, A. , Persily, A. and Emmerich, S. (2019), Airflow and Indoor Air Quality Models of DOE Prototype Commercial Buildings, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created October 24, 2019, Updated January 7, 2020