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, IAQ and Filtration in a Net Zero Energy House



Andrew K. Persily, Lisa C. Ng, Dustin G. Poppendieck, Steven J. Emmerich


The Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) was constructed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support the development and adoption of cost-effective net zero energy designs and technologies. The 250 m2 two-story, unoccupied NZERTF, built in 2012, had the following design goals: meeting the comfort and functional needs of the occupants; siting to maximize renewable energy potential; establishing an airtight and highly insulated building enclosure designed for water and moisture control; providing controlled mechanical ventilation; and installing highly efficient mechanical equipment, lighting and appliances. The NZERTF achieved its goal of generating more energy than it consumed during its first year of simulated occupancy by a single family, despite a severe winter. The airtightness goal was achieved through detailed envelope design, careful construction, and during- and post-construction commissioning. The NZERTF is one of the tightest residential buildings in North America with a whole building pressurization test result of roughly 0.6 h-1 at 50 Pa. The ventilation goals were met with a heat recovery ventilator sized to comply with ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2010, which corresponds to roughly 40 L/s or 0.1 h-1 for this building. Low indoor contaminant levels were achieved through the careful selection of building materials. This paper describes the design and construction methods used to achieve such a tight building as well as the performance measurements made to verify that the building achieved its ventilation and indoor air quality (IAQ) goals.
Air Media Magazine


Net-Zero Energy, Ventilation, contaminant levels, airtightness, building envelope, indoor air quality.


Persily, A. , Ng, L. , Poppendieck, D. and Emmerich, S. (2018), Ventilation, IAQ and Filtration in a Net Zero Energy House, Air Media Magazine, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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

Created May 24, 2018