Airtightness of Commercial and Institutional Buildings: Blowing Holes in the Myth of Tight Buildings

Published: December 01, 1998


Andrew K. Persily


It is often assumed that commercial and institutional buildings are fairly airtight and that envelope air leakage does not have a significant impact on energy consumption and indoor air quality in these buildings. Furthermore, it is also assumed that more recently constructed buildings are tighter than older buildings. The fact of the matter is that very little data are available on the airtightness of building envelopes in commercial and institutional buildings. The data that do exist show significant levels of air leakage in these buildings and do not support correlations of airtightness with building age, size or construction. This paper presents the airtightness data that are available and the limited conclusions that can be drawn from these data.
Proceedings Title: Thermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Buildings VII : proceedings of the Conference
Conference Dates: December 6-10, 1998
Conference Title: Thermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Buildings
Pub Type: Conferences

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air leakage, airtightness, building envelope, building performance, infiltration, thermal envelope
Created December 01, 1998, Updated February 19, 2017