LBNL Report Number
The ventilation of an attic is critical in estimating heating and cooling loads for buildings because the air temperature in the attic is highly sensitive to ventilation rate. In addition, attic ventilation is an important parameter for determining moisture accumulation in attic spaces that can lead to structural damage and reduced insulation effectiveness. Historically, attic venting has been a common method for controlling attic temperature and moisture, but there have been no calculation techniques available to determine attic ventilation rates. Current practice is to use rules of thumb for estimating attic vent areas. Simple algebraic relationships are developed here, using functions fitted to an exact numerical solution for air flow through attic envelopes. This algebraic model (AVENT) was developed to be easy to use as diagnostic or design tool. Key factors included in the model are: climate (wind and stack effect), wind shelter, leakage distribution and total attic leakage. This paper validates the model predictions by comparing to measured data from two attics at the Alberta Home Heating Research Facility (AHHRF). Average errors for the model are about 15% compared to the measured ventilation rates.