Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Investigation of the Impact of Commercial Building Envelope Airtightness on HVAC Energy Use

Published

Author(s)

Steven J. Emmerich, Timothy P. McDowell, W Anis

Abstract

This report presents a simulation study of the energy impact and cost effectiveness of improving envelope airtightness in U.S. commercial buildings. Despite common assumptions, measurements have shown that typical U.S. commercial buildings are not particularly airtight. Past simulation studies have shown that commercial building envelope leakage can result in significant heating and cooling loads. To evaluate the potential energy savings and cost effectiveness of an effective air barrier requirement, annual energy simulations and cost estimates were prepared for three nonresidential buildings (a two-story office building, a one-story retail building, and a four-story apartment building) in 5 U.S. cities. A coupled multizone airflow and building energy simulation tool was used to predict the energy use for the buildings at a target tightness level relative to a baseline level based on measurements in existing buildings. Predicted potential annual heating and energy cost savings ranged from 2 % to 36 % with the smallest savings occurring in the cooling-dominated climates of Phoenix and Miami.
Citation
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7238
Report Number
7238

Keywords

energy efficiency, infiltration, office buildings, ventilation

Citation

Emmerich, S. , McDowell, T. and Anis, W. (2005), Investigation of the Impact of Commercial Building Envelope Airtightness on HVAC Energy Use, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=860985 (Accessed June 20, 2021)
Created June 1, 2005, Updated July 28, 2009