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Modeling the Performance of a Naturally Ventilated Commercial Building With a Multizone Coupled Thermal/Airflow Simulation Tool.



James W. Axley, Steven Emmerich, George Walton


Naural ventilation systems have long been employed in European residences to control indoor air quality and provide thermal comfort. European building designers have turned to natural ventilation to control air quality and cool commercial and institutional buildings as well, hoping to take advantage of the potential of natural ventilation systems to conserve energy associated with mechanical cooling and fan operation. Encouraged by the early successes of the past decade, European building designers have advanced natural ventilation technology, introduced promising hybrid ventilation technologies that combine mechanical and natural means, and developed analytical tools for the design of these systems. These systems may be adapted to the North American context, but much work will need to be done to realize the full potential natural ventilation may offer to North America. The needed work includes modeling studies which may require advanced modeling tools to adequately model the complex coupled thermal and airflow dynamics. A modeling study of a representative naturally ventilated building recently constructed in The Netherlands is presented. A multizone coupled thermal/airflow simulation tool CONTAM97R is used to investigate the performance of this building in two challenging North American climates. Comparisons of measured and predicted performance of this building in its native climate were performed as a validation exercise and to calibrate the building models used for subsequent analytical studies. Three models of a five-story segment of this building were formulated-a single-zone model with detailed representations of ventilation inlets and exhausts, a highly detailed 31-zone model accounting for all purpose-provided and infiltration flow paths, and a moderately detailed 11-zone model falling between these two extremes.
Proceedings Title
ASHRAE Summer Meeting. Proceedings. June 26-30, 2004
No. 2
Conference Location
Nashville, TN, US
Conference Title


calibration study, night cooling, natural ventilation, multi-zone model, envelope


Axley, J. , Emmerich, S. and Walton, G. (2004), Modeling the Performance of a Naturally Ventilated Commercial Building With a Multizone Coupled Thermal/Airflow Simulation Tool., ASHRAE Summer Meeting. Proceedings. June 26-30, 2004 , Nashville, TN, US, [online], (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created June 25, 2004, Updated October 12, 2021