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Energies 2018, 11(12), 3322; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11123322

A Simplified Methodology to Estimate Energy Savings in Commercial Buildings from Improvements in Airtightness

Energy and Transportation Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
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Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 28 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Energy Use: Modeling and Analysis)
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Abstract

Air leakage through the envelope of commercial buildings in the United States accounts for approximately 6% of their energy use. Various simulation approaches have been proposed to estimate the impact of air leakage on building energy use. Although approaches that are based on detailed airflow modeling appear to be the most accurate to calculate infiltration heat transfer in simulation models, these approaches tend to require significant modeling expertise and effort. To make these energy savings estimates more readily available to building owners and designers, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Air Barrier Association of America, and the US Department of Energy (DOE) are developing a user-friendly online calculator that applies a detailed airflow modeling approach to examine energy savings due to airtightness in commercial buildings. The calculator, however, is limited to 52 US cities and a few cities in Canada and China. This paper describes the development of an alternative, simplified method to estimate energy savings from improved airtightness. The proposed method uses the same detailed approach for hourly infiltration calculations as the online calculator but it expands the ability to estimate energy savings to all US cities using hourly outdoor air temperature as the only input. The new simple regression model-based approach was developed and tested with DOE’s standalone retail prototype building model. Results from the new approach and the calculator show good agreement. Additionally, a simple approach to estimate percent energy savings for retrofitted buildings was also developed; results were within 5% of the energy saving estimates from the online calculator. View Full-Text
Keywords: air leakage; infiltration; airtightness; commercial prototype buildings; energy savings; retrofits; EnergyPlus; stand-alone retail building air leakage; infiltration; airtightness; commercial prototype buildings; energy savings; retrofits; EnergyPlus; stand-alone retail building
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Bhandari, M.; Hun, D.; Shrestha, S.; Pallin, S.; Lapsa, M. A Simplified Methodology to Estimate Energy Savings in Commercial Buildings from Improvements in Airtightness. Energies 2018, 11, 3322.

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