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Title: Optimization of Ventilation Energy Demands and Indoor Air Quality in High-Performance Homes

High-performance homes require that ventilation energy demands and indoor air quality (IAQ) be simultaneously optimized. We attempted to bridge these two areas by conducting tests in a research house located in Oak Ridge, TN, that was 20 months old, energy-efficient (i.e., expected to consume 50% less energy than a house built per the 2006 IRC), tightly-built (i.e., natural ventilation rate ~0.02 h-1), unoccupied, and unfurnished. We identified air pollutants of concern in the test home that could generally serve as indicators of IAQ, and conduced field experiments and computer simulations to determine the effectiveness and energy required by various techniques that lessened the concentration of these contaminants. Formaldehyde was selected as the main pollutant of concern among the contaminants that were sampled in the initial survey because it was the only compound that showed concentrations that were greater than the recommended exposure levels. Field data indicate that concentrations were higher during the summer primarily because emissions from sources rise with increases in temperature. Furthermore, supply ventilation and gas-phase filtration were effective means to reduce formaldehyde concentrations; however, exhaust ventilation had minimal influence on this pollutant. Results from simulations suggest that formaldehyde concentrations obtained while ventilating per ASHRAE 62.2-2010 could bemore » decreased by about 20% from May through September through three strategies: 1) increasing ASHRAE supply ventilation by a factor of two, 2) reducing the thermostat setpoint from 76 to 74 F, or 3) running a gas-phase filtration system while decreasing supply ventilation per ASHRAE by half. In the mixed-humid climate of Oak Ridge, these strategies caused increases in electricity cost of ~$5 to ~$15/month depending on outdoor conditions.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. ORNL
  2. University of Texas at Austin
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Pacific Grove, CA, USA, 20140818, 20140822
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC)
Sponsoring Org:
EE USDOE - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE)
Country of Publication:
United States