Applicability of a simple and new airtightness measuring method and further comparisons with blower door measurements

The building airtightness is essential to achieve a high energy performance. In most countries however, it is not mandatory to measure the airtightness. In the Netherlands it is common practice to just take a couple samples in a housing project. These samples do not give a good indication for all the buildings in a project. It is therefore important to measure the airtightness of all the buildings.

Refined assessment and comparison of airtightness measurement of indoor chambers using the blower door and Pulse methods

Previous studies have compared the airtightness measurement of test enclosures utilising both the novel Pulse technique and the conventional blower door method.  Discrepancies between results of the two test methods were observed and it was concluded that differences either caused by wind or blower door installation integrity would have had an impact upon the results.

Evaluation of indoor pressure distributions in a detached house using the Pulse airtightness measurement technique

Building airtightness is a critical aspect for energy-efficient buildings as energy performance of a building can be reduced significantly by poor airtightness. The Pulse technique has been regarded as a promising technology, which measures the building airtightness at a low pressure of 4Pa by rapidly releasing a 1.5-second pulse of air from a pressurised vessel into the test building and thereby creating an instant pressure rise that quickly reaches a “quasi-steady” condition. However, questions have often been asked on the test viability due to the nature of the test.

Airtightness and energy impact of air infiltration in residential buildings in Spain

Addressing the airtightness of the building envelope is key to achieve thermal comfort, good performance of ventilation systems and to avoid excessive energy consumption. Previous studies have estimated an energy impact on infiltration on the heating demand between 2 and 20 kWh/(m2·y) in regions with temperate climates. In Spain, this issue has not yet been addressed in depth. This study aims to assess the energy impact of uncontrolled air flows through the building envelope in residential buildings in Spain.

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.).

Influence of the external pressure tap position on the airtightness test result

Due to the wind induced pressure, different results may be obtained if the inside-outside pressure difference is measured across different locations on the building envelope, i.e. if the external pressure tap of a differential pressure sensor measuring this pressure difference is placed in different positions. Therefore, the position of the external pressure tap may influence an airtightness test result as well.

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.

A new method to measure building airtightness

In this paper a new methodology is presented to determine airtightness of buildings. The common method for airtightness testing is through fan pressurization with a blower door test. The new methodology also uses fan pressurization. Instead of an external fan, it uses the building fan system to pressurize the building.  

An extended pressure range comparison of the blower door and novel pulse method for measuring the airtightness of two outdoor chambers with different levels of airtightness

The steady pressurisation method measures the building leakage in a range of high pressures, typically 10-60 Pa. It is implemented by creating a steady pressure difference across the building envelope and measuring the corresponding airflow exchange rate between the indoor and outdoor simultaneously. This method has been widely used and accepted as the standard test for demonstrating building air-tightness compliance. Conversely, the novel pulse technique, has been developed to measure the building air leakage at low pressures typically in the range of 1-10 Pa.

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