This research area strives to understand the role that air leakage, infiltration, mechanical ventilation, natural ventilation and building use have on providing acceptable indoor air quality so that energy and related costs can be minimized without negatively impacting indoor air quality. Risks to human health and safety caused by inappropriate changes to ventilation and air tightness can be a major barrier to achieving high performance buildings and must be considered.
This research area focuses primarily on residential and other small buildings where the interaction of the envelope is important and energy costs are dominated by space conditioning energy rather than air transport energy. The area is multidisciplinary and uses a broad approach to understanding the problem and then enabling changes to programs and policies to improve energy efficiency while protecting health and safety. Continuing activities include:
- Laboratory research to develop and/or evaluate innovative products and techniques
- Development of test methods to provide a level playing field and enable market players
- Simulation of whole-house performance to determine expected performance
- Field measurements of performance in occupied and unoccupied buildings
- Enabling development of consensus standards and codes to facilitate improved performance.