LBNL Report Number
Infiltration has traditionally been assumed to contribute to the energy load of a building by an amount equal to the product of the infiltration flow rate and the enthalpy difference between inside and outside. Some studies have indicated that application of such a simple formula may produce an unreasonably high contribution because of heat recovery within the building envelope. The major objective of this study was to provide an improved prediction of the energy load due to infiltration by introducing a correction factor that multiplies the expression for the conventional load. This paper discusses simplified analytical modeling and CFD simulations that examine infiltration heat recovery (IHR) in an attempt to quantify the magnitude of this effect for typical building envelopes. For comparison, we will also briefly examine the results of some full-scale field measurements IHR based on infiltration rates and energy use in real buildings. The results of this work showed that for houses with insulated walls the heat recovery is negligible due to the small fraction of the envelope that participates in heat exchange with the infiltrating air. However; there is the potential for IHR to have a significant effect for higher participation dynamic walls/ceilings or uninsulated walls. This result implies that the existing methods for evaluating infiltration related building loads provide adequate results for typical buildings.