This Ventilation Information Paper analyses both the policy instruments used (regulatory requirements and incentives, specific programme requirements, quality frameworks for testers and builders) and the changes observed in practice in terms of building and ductwork airtightness over the past 5 years, using as reference mostly publications from AIVC and TightVent led events. Although we have not restricted our literature review to specific parts of the world, the majority of the publications we found come from Europe and the USA.
The review begins with the motivations for improving building airtightness, including energy use impacts, building durability, indoor air quality (IAQ) impacts, and safety of occupants. Mandatory building airtightness testing has come gradually into force in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Denmark. It is also considered in many other European countries, either as regulatory or programme requirements, mostly because of the increasing weight of building leakage energy impact on the overall energy performance of low-energy buildings. Because of legal and financial issues due to wrong tests, several countries have developed qualification schemes for building airtightness testers and also airtightness databases that prove to be very useful for monitoring policies and building stock.
As for ductwork airtightness, this issue is rarely addressed despite significant energy savings and/or IAQ impacts associated. The feedback as well as energy and IAQ analyses of the recently introduced Effinergie requirements in France would be very helpful to make progress on this issue.