LBNL Report Number
The purpose of ventilation is to dilute or remove indoor contaminants that an occupant could be exposed to. It can be provided by mechanical or natural means. ASHRAE Standards including standards 62, 119, and 136 have all considered the contribution of infiltration in various ways, using methods and data from 20 years ago. The vast majority of homes in the United States and indeed the world are ventilated through natural means such as infiltration caused by air leakage. Newer homes in the western world are tight and require mechanical ventilation. As we seek to provide acceptable indoor air quality at minimum energy cost, it is important to neither over-ventilate nor under-ventilate. Thus, it becomes critically important to correctly evaluate the contribution infiltration makes to both energy consumption and equivalent ventilation. ASHRAE Standard 62.2 specifies how much mechanical ventilation is considered necessary to provide acceptable indoor air quality, but that standard is weak on how infiltration can contribute towards meeting the total requirement. In the past ASHRAE Standard 136 was used to do this, but new theoretical approaches and expanded weather data have made that standard out of date. This article will describe how to properly treat infiltration as an equivalent ventilation approach and then use new data and these new approaches to demonstrate how these calculations might be done both in general and to update Standard 136.