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A Prediction of Energy Savings Resulting from Building Infiltration Control
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Heat transfer through building walls consists of three main components: conduction heat transfer, solar gain and infiltration heat transfer. An interaction among these three heat transfer components alters the effective heat transfer through a wall, working to reduce or increase it. This study uses simulation to evaluate the potential energy impact of the interaction when several different strategies for controlling air leakage direction and velocity in building envelope components are implemented. The simulations performed in this study show that significant energy savings can be realized with the use of controlled airflow through non-airtight walls in a building. Comparing the energy load of a building which uses airflow control in its walls with the energy load found with a standard calculation (where the interaction effect is not considered), annual energy load savings were found in a warm climate as high as 17%. The results were less promising when compared against the performance of a building experiencing simulated natural airflow (and heat recovery) through its exterior walls: the best annual load savings percentage was 10% in a warm climate. It was found that in a cooler climate, the natural flow configuration performed about as well as any of the artificial airflow configurations, so airflow control is not recommended in cool climates.
McWatters, K.; Claridge, D. E.; Liu, M. (1996). A Prediction of Energy Savings Resulting from Building Infiltration Control. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from