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Online Calculator to Evaluate the Impact of Airtightness on Residential Building Energy Consumption and Moisture Transfer...

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
Buildings XV Conference
Publication Date
Publisher Location
Georgia, United States of America
Conference Name
Buildings XV Conference
Conference Location
Clearwater Beach, Florida, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
ASHRAE ; Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Conference Date

Energy consumption in residential buildings is primarily driven by space conditioning applications. Space heating and cooling, on average, consume approximately 50% of the energy in the residential buildings in the U.S. The primary energy use due to infiltration is more than 2.8 Quads, which is 29% of primary energy consumption attributable to fenestration and building envelope components in residential buildings in US in 2010. There are advanced air barrier technologies and construction practices to reduce air leakage in buildings, which are currently available in the market. However, the lack of adequate information on their impact on energy consumption and the durability of buildings has caused the slow adoption of these technologies and methods. In the past, the authors developed an online calculator that estimates the potential energy and cost savings in major U.S., Canadian and Chinese cities from improvement in airtightness in commercial buildings. In 2018–2019, the calculator was expanded to add moisture transfer calculations, given that air leakage through the building envelope can have a significant impact on moisture transfer. The calculator is again being expanded by adding residential and additional commercial building data. In this paper, we present the impact of airtightness in residential buildings on energy consumption and moisture transfer. The study includes the analysis of airtightness in 52 major cities in the U.S. and five cities in Canada on a residential building that includes a crawlspace and has a gas furnace.