Online Airtightness Savings Calculator for Commercial Buildings in the US, Canada and China

TitleOnline Airtightness Savings Calculator for Commercial Buildings in the US, Canada and China
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSom Shrestha, Diana Hun, Lisa Ng, Andre Desjarlais, Steven Emmerich, Laverne Dalgleish
Date Published12/2016

The relative contribution of air leakage to heating and cooling loads has been increasing as the thermal resistance of commercial building envelopes continues to improve. Easy-to-access data are needed to convince building owners and contractors that enhancing the airtightness of new and existing buildings is the next logical step to achieve a high-performance building envelope. To this end, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Air Barrier Association of America, and the US-China Clean Energy Research Center for Building Energy Efficiency partnered to develop an online calculator that estimates the potential energy and cost savings in major US, Canadian, and Chinese cities from improvements in airtightness. This tool will have a user-friendly graphical interface that accesses a database of CONTAM and EnergyPlus pre-run simulation results, and will be available to the public at no cost. Baseline leakage rates are either user-specified or selected by the user from a list of supplied leakage rates. Users will then enter the expected airtightness after the installation of an air barrier system. Energy costs are estimated based on the building location and other user inputs. This paper provides an overview of the methodology implemented in this calculator, as well as example results. The deployment of this calculator could influence construction practices, contributing to significant reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from the US, Canada, and China.