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A Study on the Effects of Unwanted Air Infiltration on Thermal Comfort at an Airport Terminal
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The Energy Systems Laboratory at Texas A&M University is currently studying ways to make improvements in thermal comfort at the Terminal E building at DFW airport. Airport terminal building HVAC systems are generally known to consume large amounts of energy to provide an environment that is comfortable for the employees and travelers. Wind direction, the shape and orientation of the building with respect to the prevailing wind can have a deleterious effect on the HVAC system ability to provide the comfort levels that people have become accustomed to in public buildings. Airport terminal buildings, such as the one in this study, built before the current energy awareness that is prevalent today have many problems associated with air infiltration primarily due to openings in the building structure to permit a smooth flow of passengers and luggage toward their destination. Entry ways that allow for easy egress generally use sliding door vestibules that are self closing based on sensors and timers to provide the building user an unimpeded path into and out of the building. During peak traffic periods, these doors are open for relatively long periods of time and can cause significant loss of building pressure. If the shape of the terminal building is such that the gate doors to the aircraft are opposing the egress entryways, air flows can develop within the building that blow across the width of the building, causing drafts that can either be cold or hot based on the outside air temperature. The shape of the building in this study is C-shaped with the opening of the “C” facing toward the West. Weather data will be analyzed along with hot and cold calls within the terminal building to correlate the effect of wind direction on indoor thermal comfort. Unwanted air infiltration flow pathways will be identified using smoke testers and analyzed with efforts to reduce entry into the building envelope.
Lander, B.; Wei, G.; Claridge, D.; Caeiro, J. (2009). A Study on the Effects of Unwanted Air Infiltration on Thermal Comfort at an Airport Terminal. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from