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Analysis of potential energy savings from air sealing retrofits of commercial buildings

Published

Author(s)

Steven Emmerich, Lisa Ng

Abstract

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has previously demonstrated that, despite assumptions to the contrary, typical modern commercial building envelopes are not particularly airtight, resulting in significant energy costs. It has also been demonstrated that substantial energy savings could result through the installation of an effective air barrier in new commercial buildings. That work contributed to the consideration and adoption of air barrier requirements in a number of commercial building standards and codes (e.g., ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013, ANSI/ASHRAE/IES/USGBC 189.1-2014, and International Energy Conservation Code 2012). However, given that the existing building stock will continue to represent the majority of occupied building space far into the future and that the existing building stock tends to have leakier building envelopes, there are substantial energy and other benefits available if these buildings can be retrofitted in a cost-effective manner. This paper summarizes the available measured data on reductions in U.S. commercial building air leakage through envelope air sealing and estimates the potential energy savings that could result for two commercial building prototypes using a novel coupling of leading building energy and multizone airflow modeling tools.
Proceedings Title
ASTM International Symposium on Whole Building Air Leakage: Testing and Building Performance Impacts
Conference Dates
October 17, 2019
Conference Location
San Diego, CA, US

Keywords

airflow modeling, airtightness, blower door, fan pressurization test, commercial building retrofit, CONTAM, energy modeling, EnergyPlus, infiltration, sustainable buildings

Citation

Emmerich, S. and Ng, L. (2019), Analysis of potential energy savings from air sealing retrofits of commercial buildings, ASTM International Symposium on Whole Building Air Leakage: Testing and Building Performance Impacts, San Diego, CA, US, [online], https://doi.org/10.1520/STP161520180021 (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created October 17, 2019, Updated March 11, 2024