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Evaluating IAQ and Energy Impacts of Ventilation in a Net-Zero Energy House Using a Coupled Model



Lisa C. Ng, William S. Dols, Dustin G. Poppendieck, Steven J. Emmerich


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) constructed the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) to support the development and adoption of cost-effective NZE designs and technologies. Among the key objectives of the facility design was creating a healthy and comfortable environment for the assumed occupants by providing adequate outdoor air ventilation and reducing indoor contaminant sources. Building material source control guidelines were implemented to minimize the use of products with urea-formaldehyde resin and to utilize products with relatively low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Indoor and outdoor concentrations of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde were measured approximately monthly during two years of house operation. Real-time formaldehyde concentration and energy measurements were used to validate the indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy results of a coupled CONTAM-EnergyPlus model of the house. The validated model was then used to evaluate the IAQ and energy consequences of various outdoor air ventilation rates. The results of this work demonstrate the need for appropriate product selection (source control) and mechanical ventilation, especially in homes with relatively airtight envelopes.
Proceedings Title
2016 ASHRAE IAQ Conference
Conference Dates
September 12-14, 2016
Conference Location
Alexandria, VA


net zero house, ventilation, CONTAM-EnergyPlus model, energy, indoor air quality, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde


Ng, L. , Dols, W. , Poppendieck, D. and Emmerich, S. (2016), Evaluating IAQ and Energy Impacts of Ventilation in a Net-Zero Energy House Using a Coupled Model, 2016 ASHRAE IAQ Conference, Alexandria, VA, [online], (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created September 20, 2016, Updated February 19, 2017