Air Exchange Effectiveness in Office Buildings: Measurement Techniques and Results

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Conference Paper

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We define two air exchange effectiveness parameters which indicate the extent of short circuiting, mixing, or displacement air flow in an entire building, the air diffusion effectiveness which indicates the air flow pattern locally, and the normalized local age of air. After describing two tracer gas procedures for measuring these parameters, we discuss assumptions inherent in the data analysis that are often violated in large office buildings. To obtain valuable data, careful selection of buildings for measurements and assessments to determine if operating conditions are reasonably consistent with the assumptions are necessary. Multiple factors, in addition to the air flow pattern in the occupied space, can affect measurement results, consequently, the interpretation of measurements is not straightforward. We summarize the results of measurements in several office buildings and in a research laboratory. Almost all measurements indicate that the extent of both short circuiting and displacement flow is small. A moderate amount of short circuiting is evident from a few measurements in rooms with heated supply air. Ages of air and their reciprocals (local ventilation rates) often vary substantially between rooms, probably because of room-to-room variation in the rate of air supply. For future research, we suggest assessments of measurement accuracy, development of measurement approaches that may be practically applied for a broader range of buildings, and a greater focus on pollutant removal efficiencies.


International Symposium on Room Air Convection and Ventilation Effectiveness, July 22-24, 1992

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