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Online Airtightness Calculator for the US, Canada and China



Som Shrestha, Lisa Ng, Steven Emmerich, Diana Hun, Laverne Dalgleish


The contribution of air leakage to heating and cooling loads has been increasing as the thermal resistance of building envelopes continues to improve. Easy-to-access data are needed to convince building owners and contractors that enhancing the airtightness of buildings is the next logical step to achieve a high-performance building envelope. To this end, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Air Barrier Association of America, and the US-China Clean Energy Research Center for Building Energy Efficiency Consortium partnered to develop an online calculator that estimates the potential energy and cost savings in major US, Canadian, and Chinese cities from, improvements in airtightness. This tool will have a user-friendly graphical interface that accesses a database of CONTAM and EnergyPlus pre-run simulation results, and will be available to the public at no cost. Baseline leakage rates are either user-specified or selected by the user from a list of supplied leakage rates. Users will then enter the expected airtightness after the proper installation of an air barrier system. Energy costs are estimated based on the building location and other user inputs. This paper provides an overview of the methodology implemented in this calculator, as well as example results. The deployment of this calculator could influence construction practices, contributing to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the US, Canada, and China.
Proceedings Title
Online Airtightness Calculator for the US, Canada and China
Conference Dates
December 4-8, 2016
Conference Location
Clearwater, FL, US
Conference Title
Buildings XIII conference


Shrestha, S. , Ng, L. , Emmerich, S. , Hun, D. and Dalgleish, L. (2016), Online Airtightness Calculator for the US, Canada and China, Online Airtightness Calculator for the US, Canada and China, Clearwater, FL, US, [online], (Accessed May 27, 2024)


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Created December 14, 2016, Updated October 12, 2021