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Cross-platform, Public Domain Simulation Tools for Performing Parametric IAQ and Energy Analysis



William S. Dols, Lindsay J. Underhill


As building design is being driven towards lower energy use, the relationship between indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy becomes more important due in large part to reduced building envelope leakage, which can lead to higher indoor pollutant levels. Simulation tools that can analyze building design measures that aim to improve IAQ and energy use are necessary for evaluating potential trade-offs involving such measures. This paper will present the use of CONTAM and EnergyPlus, coupled using co-simulation, to perform parametric analysis of IAQ and energy impacts. Both of these tools are available in the public domain and provide cross- platform methods to evaluate both IAQ and energy use. Applications and workflow using these tools and available building models will be presented, including various energy and IAQ related measures that can be addressed with them. In particular, we present a framework for addressing energy measures (envelope tightening, insulation, and mechanical ventilation) and IAQ-related parameters (indoor/outdoor sources, ventilation rate, and filtration) in multi-family housing and effects on occupant exposure via a cohesive simulation environment that minimizes inter- domain coupling issues.
Proceedings Title
7th International Building Physics Conference
Conference Dates
September 23-26, 2018
Conference Location
Syracuse, NY


CONTAM, co-simulation, energy, EnergyPlus, indoor air quality, whole building simulation


Dols, W. and Underhill, L. (2018), Cross-platform, Public Domain Simulation Tools for Performing Parametric IAQ and Energy Analysis, 7th International Building Physics Conference, Syracuse, NY, [online], (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created September 26, 2018, Updated October 1, 2018