REMARK: This Q&A was part of the AIVC special COVID-19 newsletter published in February 2021. To subscribe to the newsletter please click here.

The AIVC of the 20th Century

This report reviews the activities of the AIVC during its first twenty years of operation. It identifies key projects and addresses them in the context of research activities and associated issues of the time. Early issues included the need for energy conservation and reducing air infiltration loss. Much work concentrated on assessing the performance of numerical models and acquiring input and validation measurement data. Towards the end of the period attention focused towards energy efficient ventilation systems for good indoor air quality and comfort.

Comparison between infiltration rate predictions using the divide-by-20 rule of thumb and real measurements

Across different territories there are various normative models for assessing energy demand of domestic dwellings, which use simplified approaches to account for the heat loss due to the air infiltration of a building.  For instance, the United Kingdom uses a dwelling energy model, known as the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), and this utilises a process where the measured air permeability value (q50), is simply divided by 20 to provide an infiltration rate (subsequent modification factors are then used for factors such as sheltering etc.).

On the experimental validation of the infiltration model DOMVENT3D

Buildings represent approximately 40% of global energy demand and heat loss induced by uncontrolled air leakage through the building fabric can represent up to one third of the heating load in a building. This leakage of air at ambient pressure levels, is known as air infiltration and can be measured by tracer gas means, however, the method is disruptive and invasive. Air infiltration models are a non-disruptive way to calculate predictive values for air infiltration in buildings.

Effects of Outdoor Environment on Air Exchange Rate

Indoor air quality is the chemical, physical and biological properties that indoor air must have to not cause any negative impact on occupants’ health and provide comfort: feel fresh, pleasant and stimulating. 

CFD modelling of fan pressurization method in buildings – The impact of dynamic wind on airtightness tests

Building airtightness tests have become very common in several countries, either to comply with minimum requirements of regulations or programs, or to justify input values in calculation methods. This raises increasing concerns for the reliability of those tests. Despite the extensive debates about how the building pressurization test standard ISO 9972 should address sources of uncertainties, no change has been implemented. According to the current standard, the zero-flow pressure shall not exceed 5 Pa for the test to be valid.

Experimental study on the measurement of Building Infiltration and Air Leakage rates (at 4 and 50 Pa) by means of Tracer Gas methods, Blower Door and the novel Pulse technique in a Detached UK Home

Air infiltration contributes to a heat loss typically representing up to one third of the heating demand of a building. The building airtightness, also quantified as air leakage, is the fundamental building property that impacts infiltration. The steady (de)pressurization method (blower door) is the widely accepted standard process for measuring building air leakage. However, this method requires the enclosure to be pressurised to a typical range of 10-60 Pa, which is not physically representative of the pressures experienced by buildings under natural conditions.

Comparison of experimental methodologies to estimate the air infiltration rate in a residential case study for calibration purposes

The air renovation of a building should be controlled in order to ensure a proper level of indoor air quality while minimize heat losses. It is a crucial point for the future energy efficiency goals. However, air infiltration rate in buildings is a complex parameter which is influenced by several boundary conditions. Although a detailed dynamic analysis could be used to properly characterize the phenomenon, estimated values can be obtained from experimental methods, as Blower Door test and gas concentration-based approaches.

Experimental Investigation of the Impact of Environmental Conditions on the Measurement of Building Infiltration, and its correlation with Airtightness

The air infiltration of a building, which fundamentally depends on its airtightness, can be a significant contributor to its heat loss.  It can also be affected by other factors such as external terrain, leakage distribution, sheltering factor and environmental conditions. The infiltration rate of a detached UK house was monitored for 2 months in early 2018 using constant concentration and decay tracer gas methods under various temperature and wind conditions.

Effects of Meteorological Factors on CO2 concentrations

Amid the contaminant issues, air pollution has awakened more interest due to its potential health risk and its direct effect on human productivity. The overall indoor environment quality depends on the contribution of both the indoor and the outdoor air quality. The outdoor air pollutants penetrate indoor environments through mechanical and natural ventilation as well as by infiltrations through cracks and leaks in building’s envelope. The interaction between the indoor and outdoor air may be studied by the air exchange rate.