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.

Ventilation Design and Performance in U.S. Office Buildings



Andrew K. Persily, J Gorfain


Building ventilation is a primary determinant of indoor air quality (IAQ) as it impacts contaminant concentrations and occupant comfort in terms of the perception of odor and irritation. However, relatively few measurements of office building ventilation performance have been conducted, and those data that exist generally have not employed consistent measurement methods and have not involved representative collections of buildings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation (BASE) study was conducted to assess IAQ, including ventilation, in a large number of randomly selected office buildings throughout the U.S. (Womble et al. 1996). Ventilation performance assessment was a key part of the survey, and this paper presents a summary of the analysis of the ventilation information collected as part of the study. The full report (Persily and Gorfain 2004) contains a more complete description of the analysis and a more detailed presentation of the results.The EPA BASE study was originally conceived to address the data gap that exists regarding IAQ in public and commercial office buildings. As described in the study protocol (EPA 2003), the primary goal was to define the status of the existing building stock with respect to determinants of IAQ and occupant perceptions. The BASE protocol addresses three major areas: thermal comfort and environmental measurements; building and HVAC characterization; and an occupant questionnaire. It is expected that the BASE data will be used to develop distributions of IAQ, building and HVAC characteristics, generate new hypotheses regarding
ASHRAE Journal


carbon dioxide, design, measurement, mechanical ventilation, office buildings, ventilation


Persily, A. and Gorfain, J. (2005), Ventilation Design and Performance in U.S. Office Buildings, ASHRAE Journal (Accessed June 25, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created April 30, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017