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Validation of Multizone IAQ Modeling of Residential-Scale Buildings: A Review



Steven J. Emmerich


This paper reviews validation studies of the application of multizone indoor air quality (IAQ) models to residential-scale buildings. This review focuses on empirical verification efforts, although models have also been subjected to analytical verification and inter-model comparisons. In most reports, experimental data were compared to predictions of only one model--typically either the CONTAM or COMIS models. However, inter-model comparisons have demonstrated consistency between these and other multizone models, so most comparisons can be generalized to all multizone models. Few of the empirical verifications reported statistical analyses of the comparison between measurements and predictions. Where sufficient data were available in the literature, additional statistical analyses have been performed and reported. Also, most published reports did not address the issue of measurement uncertainty.No single reported multizone IAQ model validation effort can be considered to be complete due to limitations in scope, inadequate detail describing experimental and/or modeling procedures, lack of rigorous statistical analysis, inclusion of only small ranges of airflows and concentrations, questions on independence of validation datasets, and other shortcomings. However, if one considers the body of published validation work, it may be concluded that knowledgeable use can expect to make reasonable predictions of air change rates, interzone flows and contaminant concentrations for residential-scale buildings dominated by stack-driven or ventilation flows with inert pollutants. In contrast, more work is clearly needed for applications with high wind speeds, reactive contaminants, or specialized situations like ambient pollutant entry, small time scales, and non-trace contaminants.Additionally, future model validation efforts will be more useful if more statistical analysis are performed and if more detail on both the measurements and modeling are reported.
ASHRAE Transactions


airflow modeling, building technology, computer simulation, indoor air quality, infiltration, multizone, residential buildings, validation


Emmerich, S. (2001), Validation of Multizone IAQ Modeling of Residential-Scale Buildings: A Review, ASHRAE Transactions, [online], (Accessed June 16, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2001, Updated February 19, 2017