• LORNE RICKETTS
    RDH Building Science
  • GRAHAM FINCH
    RDH Building Science

The inadequate control of airflow into, out of, and within multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) has historically been associated with performance issues related to moisture damage, occupant comfort, and indoor air quality. Recently, in response to increasing societal concern and energy costs, airtightness is garnering more attention with respect to energy efficiency. Various jurisdictions in North America and worldwide have integrated or are considering integrating quantitative airtightness performance requirements in to their building regulations; however, the industry capacity to perform airtightness testing of MURBs and to adapt to meet a potential mandatory requirements is relatively unknown.

To gauge the state of the industry with respect to airtightness testing of MURBS, literature regarding airtightness testing was reviewed including various test standards. Also, while it is practical to set a quantitative airtightness requirement for MURBs, airtightness testing of MURBs is significantly less common than of detached houses and the resulting data is largely not compiled. To gain a better understanding of current MURB airtightness performance and aid in the selection of a regulatory airtightness requirement, a database was created of MURB airtightness testing results. Finally, a survey was distributed to members of industry to evaluate perception and preparedness with respect to airtightness testing. The paper will present the results of this review of testing techniques, airtightness performance, and industry perceptions and preparedness.

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

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