Temperature- and wind-induced air flow patterns in a staircase. Computer modelling and experimental verification

Publication Type

Journal Article




The typical infiltration load for a residential building has been found to range from one-third to one-half of the total space conditioning load. However, most infiltration measurements have been made on single-family houses. Information about the role of infiltration in the energy consumption of large buildings is limited. Furthermore, the prediction of infiltration rates in high-rise buildings is a complex problem. The forces that drive this flow result from the superposition of wind pressure on the faces of the building and the stack effect across the height of the building. Infiltration models have shown the latter effect to be significant in single-family residences, particular in colder climates and, consequently, the stack effect is even greater in high-rise buildings. For this work, we performed tracer gas and fan pressurization measurements on a 30 m tall University of California dormitory in order to determine the importance of both wind and stack effect upon infiltration. Measured pressure and tracer gas distributions were compared with those from a predictive infiltration computer model for high-rise buildings. To study the influence of the air flow pattern around the building, this model uses various wind velocity profiles characteristic of urban areas and different sets of surface pressure coefficients derived from wind tunnel experiments.


Energy and Buildings



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