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Title: Optimization of Ventilation Energy Demands and Indoor Air Quality in the ZEBRAlliance Homes

High-performance homes require that ventilation energy demands and indoor air quality (IAQ) be simultaneously optimized. In this project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers attempted to bridge these two areas by conducting tests in research houses located in Oak Ridge, TN, that were less than 2 years old, energy-efficient (i.e., expected to consume 50% less energy than a house built per the 2006 IRC), tightly-built, unoccupied, and unfurnished. The team identified air pollutants of concern in the test homes 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 from initial air sampling surveys. 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 be decreased by about 20% from May through September through three strategies: 1) increasing ASHRAE supply ventilation by a factormore » 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 minimal to modest increases in electricity cost of ~$5 to ~$15/month depending on outdoor conditions.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
Country of Publication:
United States
indoor air quality; formaldehyde; ventilation; residential buildings; Oak Ridge National Laboratory