• LORNE RICKETTS
    RDH Building Science
  • JOHN STRAUBE
    RDH Building Science

Airflow into, out of, and within buildings is a fundamental factor of building design and operation, as building airflow patterns impact occupant health and comfort, building durability, and energy consumption. The height, typical inclusion of operable windows, and compartmentalized nature of high-rise multi-unit residential buildings makes them both unique and complex, and to efficiently and effectively ventilate these types of buildings, an understanding of airflow within and through them is required.

Airflow between building spaces (i.e. rooms, suites, storeys) is driven by pressure differences between the exterior and the interior, or between internal building spaces. These pressure differences are created by wind, stack effect, and mechanical ventilation systems. These driving forces move air within and through buildings, and this airflow is resisted by the airtightness of building elements including exterior and interior walls, doors, windows, floors etc. A field study was carried out to determine and assess airflow patterns at a high-rise multi-unit residential building. This study included measurement of airflow rates between zones using perfluorocarbon tracer methods, long-term monitoring of pressure differences, and airtightness testing. Exterior conditions including wind speed and direction, temperature, and relative humidity were monitored using a weather station installed on the roof of the building to allow for evaluation of the interaction between the building and the exterior environment. This paper summarizes the results of this field study and then generalizes these findings for buildings of different height or located in different climate zones.

This paper was presented at the 2014 Canadian Conference on Building Science and Technology.

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