Energy and Ventilation Research in Highrise Apartments: The Chelsea Public Housing Study
Air flow measurements and simulations were made on a 13-story apartment building to characterize the ventilation rates for the individual apartments. Parametric runs were performed for specific conditions, e.g., height, orientation, outside temperature and wind speed. Our analysis of the air flow simulations suggest that the ventilation to the individual units varies considerably. With the mechanical ventilation system disabled, units at the lower level of the building have adequate ventilation only on days with high inside-outside temperature differences, while units on higher floors have no ventilation at all. Units facing the windward side will be over-ventilated when the building experiences wind directions between west and north. At the same time, leeward-side apartments will not experience any fresh air—the air flows enter the apartments from the corridor and exit through the exhaust shafts and the cracks in the facade. Even with the mechanical ventilation system operating, we found wide variation in the air flows to the individual apartments. In addition to the specific case presented here, these findings have more general implications for energy retrofits and health and comfort of occupants in high-rise apartment buildings.