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Title: Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control

Abstract

Whole-house mechanical ventilation is a critical component to a comprehensive strategy for good indoor air quality (IAQ). However, due to lack of integration with standard heating and cooling systems, and perceptions from a portion of the homebuilding industry about risks related to increased energy use, increased cost, and decreased comfort, voluntary and code-required adoption varies amongst regions. Smart ventilation controls (SVC) balance energy consumption, comfort, and IAQ by optimizing mechanical ventilation operation to reduce the heating and/or cooling loads, improve management of indoor moisture, and maintain IAQ equivalence according to ASHRAE 62.2.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Florida Solar Energy Center, Cocoa, FL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Florida Solar Energy Center, Cocoa, FL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
OSTI Identifier:
1416954
Report Number(s):
DOE/EE-1701
DOE/EE-1701
DOE Contract Number:
EE0007056
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: Martin, E.; Fernaughty, K.; Parker, D.; Lubliner, M.; Howard, L. 2018. Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control. Golden, CO; National Renewable Energy Laboratory. DOE/EE-1701. www.osti.gov
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; DOE Building America; residential; buildings; homes; IAQ; mechanical ventilation

Citation Formats

Martin, Eric, Fenaughty, Karen, and Parker, Danny. Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1416954.
Martin, Eric, Fenaughty, Karen, & Parker, Danny. Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control. United States. doi:10.2172/1416954.
Martin, Eric, Fenaughty, Karen, and Parker, Danny. 2018. "Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control". United States. doi:10.2172/1416954. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1416954.
@article{osti_1416954,
title = {Field and Laboratory Testing of Approaches to Smart Whole-House Mechanical Ventilation Control},
author = {Martin, Eric and Fenaughty, Karen and Parker, Danny},
abstractNote = {Whole-house mechanical ventilation is a critical component to a comprehensive strategy for good indoor air quality (IAQ). However, due to lack of integration with standard heating and cooling systems, and perceptions from a portion of the homebuilding industry about risks related to increased energy use, increased cost, and decreased comfort, voluntary and code-required adoption varies amongst regions. Smart ventilation controls (SVC) balance energy consumption, comfort, and IAQ by optimizing mechanical ventilation operation to reduce the heating and/or cooling loads, improve management of indoor moisture, and maintain IAQ equivalence according to ASHRAE 62.2.},
doi = {10.2172/1416954},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2018,
month = 1
}

Technical Report:

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  • Whole-house mechanical ventilation is a critical component to a comprehensive strategy for good indoor air quality (IAQ). However, due to lack of integration with standard heating and cooling systems, and perceptions from a portion of the homebuilding industry about risks related to increased energy use, increased cost, and decreased comfort, voluntary and code-required adoption varies among regions. Smart ventilation controls (SVC) balance energy consumption, comfort, and IAQ by optimizing mechanical ventilation operation to reduce the heating and/or cooling loads, improve management of indoor moisture, and maintain IAQ equivalence according to ASHRAE 62.2.
  • Whole-house ventilation systems are becoming commonplace in new construction, remodeling/renovation, and weatherization projects, driven by combinations of specific requirements for indoor air quality (IAQ), health and compliance with standards, such as ASHRAE 62.2. Ventilation systems incur an energy penalty on the home via fan power used to drive the airflow, and the additional space-conditioning load associated with heating or cooling the ventilation air. Finding a balance between IAQ and energy use is important if homes are to be adequately ventilated while not increasing the energy burden. This study used computer simulations to examine RIVEC the Residential Integrated Ventilation Controller -more » a prototype ventilation controller that aims to deliver whole-house ventilation rates that comply with ventilation standards, for the minimum use of energy. Four different whole-house ventilation systems were simulated, both with and without RIVEC, so that the energy and IAQ results could be compared. Simulations were conducted for 13 US climate zones, three house designs, and three envelope leakage values. The results showed that the RIVEC controller could typically return ventilation energy savings greater than 40percent without compromising long-term chronic or short-term acute exposures to relevant indoor contaminants. Critical and average peak power loads were also reduced as a consequence of using RIVEC.« less
  • One method of code-compliance for crawlspaces is to seal and insulate the crawlspace, rather than venting to the outdoors. However, codes require mechanical ventilation; either via conditioned supply air from the HVAC system, or a continuous exhaust ventilation strategy. As the CARB's building partner, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, intended to use the unvented crawlspace in a recent
  • One method of code-compliance for crawlspaces is to seal and insulate the crawlspace, rather than venting to the outdoors. However, codes require mechanical ventilation; either via conditioned supply air from the HVAC system, or a continuous exhaust ventilation strategy. As the CARB's building partner, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, intended to use the unvented crawlspace in a recent development, CARB was interested in investigating a hybrid ventilation method that includes the exhaust air from the crawlspace as a portion of an ASHRAE 62.2 compliant whole-house ventilation strategy. This hybrid ventilation method was evaluated through a series of long-term monitoring tests thatmore » observed temperature, humidity, and pressure conditions through the home and crawlspace.« less
  • Past field research and simulation studies have shown that high performance homes experience elevated indoor humidity levels for substantial portions of the year in humid climates. This is largely the result of lower sensible cooling loads, which reduces the moisture removed by the cooling system. These elevated humidity levels lead to concerns about occupant comfort, health and building durability. Use of mechanical ventilation at rates specified in ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2013 are often cited as an additional contributor to humidity problems in these homes. Past research has explored solutions, including supplemental dehumidification, cooling system operational enhancements and ventilation system design (e.g.,more » ERV, supply, exhaust, etc.). This project’s goal is to develop and demonstrate (through simulations) smart ventilation strategies that can contribute to humidity control in high performance homes. These strategies must maintain IAQ via equivalence with ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2013. To be acceptable they must not result in excessive energy use. Smart controls will be compared with dehumidifier energy and moisture performance. This work explores the development and performance of smart algorithms for control of mechanical ventilation systems, with the objective of reducing high humidity in modern high performance residences. Simulations of DOE Zero-Energy Ready homes were performed using the REGCAP simulation tool. Control strategies were developed and tested using the Residential Integrated Ventilation (RIVEC) controller, which tracks pollutant exposure in real-time and controls ventilation to provide an equivalent exposure on an annual basis to homes meeting ASHRAE 62.2-2013. RIVEC is used to increase or decrease the real-time ventilation rate to reduce moisture transport into the home or increase moisture removal. This approach was implemented for no-, one- and two-sensor strategies, paired with a variety of control approaches in six humid climates (Miami, Orlando, Houston, Charleston, Memphis and Baltimore). The control options were compared to a baseline system that supplies outdoor air to a central forced air cooling (and heating) system (CFIS) that is often used in hot humid climates. Simulations were performed with CFIS ventilation systems operating on a 33% duty-cycle, consistent with 62.2-2013. The CFIS outside airflow rates were set to 0%, 50% and 100% of 62.2-2013 requirements to explore effects of ventilation rate on indoor high humidity. These simulations were performed with and without a dehumidifier in the model. Ten control algorithms were developed and tested. Analysis of outdoor humidity patterns facilitated smart control development. It was found that outdoor humidity varies most strongly seasonally—by month of the year—and that all locations follow the similar pattern of much higher humidity during summer. Daily and hourly variations in outdoor humidity were found to be progressively smaller than the monthly seasonal variation. Patterns in hourly humidity are driven by diurnal daily patterns, so they were predictable but small, and were unlikely to provide much control benefit. Variation in outdoor humidity between days was larger, but unpredictable, except by much more complex climate models. We determined that no-sensor strategies might be able to take advantage of seasonal patterns in humidity, but that real-time smart controls were required to capture variation between days. Sensor-based approaches are also required to respond dynamically to indoor conditions and variations not considered in our analysis. All smart controls face trade-offs between sensor accuracy, cost, complexity and robustness.« less