AIVC - Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre

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Heat Recovery in Building Envelopes

Infiltration has traditionally been assumed to contribute to the energy load of a building by an amount equal to the product of the infiltration flow rate and the enthalpy difference between inside and outside. Application of such a simple formula may produce an unreasonably high contribution because of heat recovery within the building envelope. Previous laboratory and simulation research has indicated that such heat transfer between the infiltrating air and walls may be substantial.

Implementation of Source Reduction Practices for Volatile Organic Compounds in Manufactured House Construction: Pilot Demonstration Project

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in new houses, particularly occupant's inhalation exposure to toxic, irritant and odorous chemicals, has received comparatively little attention among house builders and product manufacturers. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of potential concern in new houses include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetic acid and naphthalene. These VOCs are emitted by a variety of wood products and other materials used to finish the interiors of most houses.

Improving Air Handler Efficiency in Houses

Although furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps have become significantly more efficient over the last couple of decades, residential air handlers have typical efficiencies of only 10% to 15% due to poor electric motor performance and aerodynamically poor fans and fan housings. Substantial increases in performance could be obtained through improved air handler design and construction. A prototype residential air handler intended to address these issues has recently been developed.

Improving Air Handler Efficiency in Residential HVAC Applications

In continuing the development of energy efficiency standards, consideration has turned to air handlers used for heating and air conditioning of consumer residences. These air handlers have typical efficiencies of about 10% to 15% due to poor electric motor performance and aerodynamically poor fans and fan housings. This study was undertaken to examine some of these performance issues, under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, to support potential regulatory changes.

Infiltration heat recovery in building walls: Computational fluid dynamics investigations results

Conventional calculations of heating (and cooling) loads for buildings assume that conduction heat loss (or gain) through walls is independent of air infiltration heat loss (or gain). During passage through the building envelope, infiltrating air substantially exchanges heat wall insulation leading to partial recovery of heat conducted through the wall. The Infiltration Heat Recovery (IHR) factor was introduced to quantify the heat recovery and correct the conventional calculations.

Instrumented home energy rating and commissioning

Currently, houses do not perform optimally or even as many codes and forecasts predict, largely because they are field assembled and there is no consistent process to identify deficiencies or to correct them. Solving this problem requires field performance evaluations using appropriate and agreed upon procedures in the form of a new process called residential commissioning. The purpose of this project is to develop and document these procedures and to demonstrate the value that applying them could provide in both new and existing California houses.

Integrating ducts into the conditioned space: Successes and challenges

In residential and light commercial construction in the United States, heating and cooling ducts are often located outside the thermal or pressure boundary of the conditioned space. This location is selected for aesthetic and space requirement reasons. Typical duct locations include attics, above dropped ceilings, crawlspaces, and attached garages. A wide body of literature has found that distribution system conduction and air leakage can cause 30-40% energy losses before cooling and heating air reaches the conditioned space.

Leakage Diagnostics, Sealant Longevity, Sizing and Technology Transfer in Residential Thermal Distribution Systems

This field study concentrated on measurement of duct leakage to outside the conditioned space because this is most useful in energy calculations, e.g., proposed ASHRAE Standard 152P (ASHRAE 1997). For room by room load/comfort requirements, the total duct leakage (including leaks to conditioned space) is more appropriate, particularly for additional comfort considerations. The objective of this field study is to help to identify major sources of uncertainty and to quantify the trade-offs between different test methods.

Long term performance of radon mitigation systems

Performance of radon mitigation systems, including active sub-slab ventilation, basement over-pressurization and crawlspace isolation and ventilation, was monitored in 12 houses in the USA during 10 years. Results are given showing the radon concentrations measured quarterly or annually. Results of the inspection of the mitigation systems and the needed maintenance and modifications of the systems to maintain and improve their performance are also reported.

Longevity of duct tape in residential air distribution systems: 1-D, 2-D, and 3-D joints

This report summarizes the results of two high temperature longevity tests conducted by the Energy Performance of Building Group (EPB). The first test involved the aging of common “core-to-collar joints” of flexible duct to sheet metal collars, and sheet metal “collar-to-plenum joints” exposed to continuous 200°F (93°C) circulating air. The second test consisted of baking duct tape specimens in a constant 212°F (100°C) oven following the UL 181B-FX “Temperature Test” (Underwriters Laboratory 1995) requirements.