Andrew Persily, Steven Nabinger, and W. Stuart Dols
Bibliographic info:
32nd AIVC Conference " Towards Optimal Airtightness Performance", Brussels, Belgium, 12-13 October 2011

A retrofit study was conducted in an unoccupied manufactured house to investigate the impacts of airtightening on ventilation rates and energy consumption. This report describes the retrofits and the results of the pre- and post-retrofit assessment of building airtightness, ventilation, and energy use. Building envelope and air distribution systems airtightness were measured using fan pressurization. Air change rates were measured continuously using the tracer gas decay technique. Energy consumption associated with heating and cooling was monitored through measurement of gas consumption by the forced-air furnace for heating and electricity use by the air-conditioning system for cooling. The results of the study show that the retrofits reduced building envelope leakage by about 18 % and duct leakage by about 80 %. The reduction in the house infiltration rates depended on weather conditions and the manner in which the heating and cooling system was controlled, but in general these rates were reduced by about one third. The energy consumption of the house for heating and cooling was reduced by only about 10 %, which is relatively small but not unexpected given that infiltration only accounts for a portion of the heating and cooling load. An existing multizone airflow model of the building was modified to reflect the airtightening retrofits, and the predicted infiltration rates agreed well with the measured values over a range of weather and system operation conditions.