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Title: Attic ventilation and air sealing: A technical review of the issues. Final report

Abstract

This report was commissioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York State Department of State to review the history and state-of-the-art of attic ventilation and air sealing. It includes a mathematical model that is used to examine the complex relationships between such variables as attic bypass leakage area, outside air temperature, household moisture production, and venting area. The primary recommendation is to reduce heat and moisture flows into the attic by permanently sealing all air leakage paths between the house and attic, especially in climate areas that experience sustained periods of low wintertime temperatures. It concludes that current attic ventilation codes, which omit reference to considerations of climate zones, are of marginal utility to the building or retrofit industry and are in need of revision. Recommendations for further research are included.

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany, NY (United States); New York State Dept. of State, Albany, NY (United States); Synertech Systems Corp., Syracuse, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany, NY (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
10186298
Report Number(s):
NYSERDA--93-11
ON: TI94000503; IN: 1404-EEED-AEP-90
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: Sep 1993
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; ATTICS; VENTILATION; PROGRESS REPORT; SEALS; AIR INFILTRATION; VENTILATION SYSTEMS; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; RECOMMENDATIONS; BUILDING CODES; MOISTURE; ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS 320107; BUILDING SYSTEMS

Citation Formats

Not Available. Attic ventilation and air sealing: A technical review of the issues. Final report. United States: N. p., 1993. Web. doi:10.2172/10186298.
Not Available. Attic ventilation and air sealing: A technical review of the issues. Final report. United States. doi:10.2172/10186298.
Not Available. 1993. "Attic ventilation and air sealing: A technical review of the issues. Final report". United States. doi:10.2172/10186298. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10186298.
@article{osti_10186298,
title = {Attic ventilation and air sealing: A technical review of the issues. Final report},
author = {Not Available},
abstractNote = {This report was commissioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York State Department of State to review the history and state-of-the-art of attic ventilation and air sealing. It includes a mathematical model that is used to examine the complex relationships between such variables as attic bypass leakage area, outside air temperature, household moisture production, and venting area. The primary recommendation is to reduce heat and moisture flows into the attic by permanently sealing all air leakage paths between the house and attic, especially in climate areas that experience sustained periods of low wintertime temperatures. It concludes that current attic ventilation codes, which omit reference to considerations of climate zones, are of marginal utility to the building or retrofit industry and are in need of revision. Recommendations for further research are included.},
doi = {10.2172/10186298},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1993,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • The report was commissioned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York State Department of State to review the history and state-of-the art of attic ventilation and air sealing. It includes a mathematical model that is used to examine the complex relationships between such variable as attic bypass leakage area, outside air temperature, household moisture production, and venting area. The primary recommendation is to reduce heat and moisture flows into the attic by permanently sealing all air leakage paths between the house and attic, especially in climate areas that experience sustained periods of lowmore » wintertime temperatures. It concludes that current attic ventilation codes, which omit reference to considerations of climate zones, are of marginal utility to the building or retrofit industry and are in need of revision. Recommendations for further research are included.« less
  • Many utilities are promoting tightly-sealed homes to improve energy efficiency, and it is important to understand the implications of a well-sealed structure on indoor air quality (IAQ). With Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) support, Energy International conducted a nationwide survey of electric utilities to determine utility understanding of IAQ and ventilation issues. A total of 35 utilities were contacted for this survey. Utilities known to be active in the ventilation area were specifically targeted. The remaining utilities were chosen to gain a balanced geographical and size representation. A survey form was completed for each utility, providing a consistent platform formore » the survey. The results of the survey indicate a mixed awareness and interest in ventilation issues. Of the 35 utilities contacted, 10 were concerned with IAQ issues and were taking steps to alleviate potential problems through ventilation. Eight of the utilities believed that IAQ issues may be important in the future but have not yet implemented ventilation requirements or recommendations. The remaining 17 utilities did not express a significant concern with IAQ and did not foresee future problems. The utilities surveyed had only moderate concern with detailed ventilation issues such as infiltration measurements, spot vs. Whole house ventilation, source control vs. dilution, and control strategies. The most important utility concerns appear to be questions about the basic need for IAQ controls, and the cost-benefit analysis of energy efficient homes that require additional ventilation equipment. The utilities contacted that are concerned with IAQ generally have several mechanical ventilation system options to meet recommendations.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is fully committed to research for developing the information and capabilities necessary to provide cost-effective residential retrofits yielding 50% energy savings within the next several years. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the biggest energy end use in the residential sector, and a significant amount of energy can be wasted through leaky ductwork in unconditioned spaces such as attics and crawl spaces. A detailed duct sealing case study is presented for one house along with nine brief descriptions of other duct retrofits completed in the mixed-humid climate. Costs and estimated energy savings aremore » reported for most of the ten houses. Costs for the retrofits ranged from $0.92/ft2 to $1.80/ft2 of living space and estimated yearly energy cost savings due to the duct retrofits range from 1.8% to 18.5%. Lessons learned and duct sealing guidelines based on these ten houses, as well as close work with the HVAC industry in the mixed-humid climate of East Tennessee, northern Georgia, and south-central Kentucky are presented. It is hoped that the lessons learned and guidelines will influence local HVAC contractors, energy auditors, and homeowners when diagnosing or repairing HVAC duct leakage and will be useful for steering DOE s future research in this area.« less
  • The Guide to Attic Air Sealing was completed in 2010 and although not in the standard Measure Guideline format, is intended to be a Measure Guideline on Attic Air Sealing. The guide was reviewed during two industry stakeholders meetings held on December 18th, 2009 and January 15th, 2010, and modified based on the comments received. Please do not make comments on the Building America format of this document. The purpose of the Guide to Attic Air Sealing is to provide information and recommendations for the preparation work necessary prior to adding attic insulation. Even though the purpose of this guidemore » is to save energy - health, safety and durability should not be compromised by energy efficiency. Accordingly, combustion safety and ventilation for indoor air quality are addressed first. Durability and attic ventilation then follow. Finally, to maximize energy savings, air sealing is completed prior to insulating. The guide is intended for home remodelers, builders, insulation contractors, mechanical contractors, general contractors who have previously done remodeling and homeowners as a guide to the work that needs to be done.« less
  • The purpose of this measure guideline is to provide information and recommendations for the preparation work necessary prior to adding attic insulation. Even though the purpose of this guide is to save energy, health, safety, and durability should not be compromised by energy efficiency. Accordingly, combustion safety and ventilation for indoor air quality are addressed first. Durability and attic ventilation then follow. Finally, to maximize energy savings, air sealing is completed prior to insulating. The guide is intended for home remodelers, builders, insulation contractors, mechanical contractors, general contractors who have previously done remodeling and homeowners as a guide to themore » work that needs to be done.« less