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Building Airtightness: Research and Practice

This report summarizes the state of the art on building air tightness by reviewing the current and recent literature on both research and practice. The focus of this report is on techniques to measure the tightness of the building envelope and on what has been learned by doing so. This report reviews over 100 of the most important publications relating to the topic. The report covered the fundamentals of air leakage including the hydrodynamics of leaks, which has led to all of the measurement techniques currently in use.

Use of statistics for predicting distribution of air infiltration.

Calculation of air infiltration in a large number of cases can give information of expected variations in yearly air change and energy consumptions. As model is used the equivalent leakage area model written in a spreadsheet computer program. For a typical Norwegian house an analysis of the influence of some parameters is made. The influence of climate is found to be small, if we compare the mean yearly air change for towns in Norway. Prediction of air infiltration is made from known variations in indoor temperature, 50 Pa pressurization air change and leakage and pressure characteristics.

Ventilation and occupant behaviour in two apartment buildings.

In this paper we approach the subject of ventilation and occupant behavior in multifamily buildings by asking three questions: 1) why and how do occupants interact with ventilation in an apartment building, 2) how does the physical environment (i.e., building characteristics and climate) affect the ventilation in an apartment, and 3) what methods can be used to answer the first two questions. To investigate these and other questions, two apartment buildings in Chicago were monitored during the 1985 - 1986 heating season.

Householder response to airtightness information.

20 low-income family houses were studied for Air Changes per Hour and Equivalent Leakage Area as measured by the Blower Door Test during the winter of 1985-86. The residents of 10 of these homes were given instruction on air sealing techniques and were provided a "starter kit" of retrofit materials. Upon retesting, these 10 homes showed no improvement in either ACH or ELA,indicating either a lack of interest on the part of the householders in making their homes more airtight, or an inability to do so based upon insufficient information or physical limitation.

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