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A Modeling Study of Ventilation, IAQ and Energy Impacts of Residential Mechanical Ventilation



Andrew K. Persily


Based on concerns about indoor air quality and trends towards tighter envelope construction, there has been increasing interest in mechanical ventilation of residential buildings in the United States. This paper reports on a simulation study of indoor air quality, ventilation and energy impacts of several mechanical ventilation approaches in a single-family residential building. The study focuses on a two-story house in the northwestern United States and employs the multizone airflow and contaminant dispersal model CONTAM96. The contaminants studied include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor, fire particles, and a generic volatile organic compound. One year simulations were performed for a base case of envelope infiltration, passive inlet vents with intermittent mechanical exhaust, outdoor intake to to the forced-air system return balanced by mechanical exhaust, continuous exhaust. Results discussed include whole building air change rates, energy consumption and contaminant concentrations.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6162
Report Number


building technology, computer simulation, energy, indoor air quality, mechanical ventilation, modeling, residential, ventilation


Persily, A. (1998), A Modeling Study of Ventilation, IAQ and Energy Impacts of Residential Mechanical Ventilation, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created May 1, 1998, Updated February 19, 2017