Air Infiltration and Passive Systems | HSW



Each year, $11 billion in energy costs are wasted through infiltration in commercial buildings according to a 2021 study from the Department of Energy. Learn how envelope design affects both comfort and energy costs in Idaho’s buildings. Participants will learn about pressure management and using it to design for passive strategies including stack and cross-ventilation and some of the inherent challenges of doing so. The lecture will cover why infiltration is especially important to manage in Idaho due to the health impacts of wildfire smoke, which can infiltrate a leaky building. The main takeaway is to design buildings that deliver clean filtered air to the occupants in a way that minimizes utility costs and maximizes comfort.

HSW Justification: The Covid-19 pandemic started a shift in building science research with a focus in Indoor Air Quality and HVAC efficiency. We have known for decades how to maintain a building's HVAC system to mitigate the spread of bacteria or particulates, however, we did not know how to do so economically. Recent research into different filter types, cycles, and smart monitoring systems have changed the performance metrics by which we judge an HVAC system. This lecture reviews recent research and applies energy modeling to project end energy use under different scenarios. Each scenario weighs the impact of Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) with Non-EEMs, such as, air quality or weather pattern impacts (wildfire).

Learning Objective 1: 
Understand the role that pressure plays in the design of passive ventilation strategies.
Learning Objective 2: 
Articulate some of the challenges with passive stack and cross ventilation.
Learning Objective 3: 
Describe the impacts of infiltration on building energy use and occupant comfort.
Learning Objective 4: 
Design ventilation strategies that mitigate the health impacts of wildfire smoke and particulate matter.
Learning Units: 
1 LU | HSW
Course Status: 

Damon Woods
Director - Assistant Professor
Dr. Woods is a licensed mechanical engineer who started working at the IDL as a graduate student back in 2013. His dissertation used energy models paired with weather forecasts to predict how a radiant slab should be managed to maximize occupant comfort. His current research focus is on the integration of surface temperatures into building energy management systems. Dr. Woods has taught courses in advanced thermodynamics and energy modeling. In the office, he spends his time working on energy models and estimating savings from energy upgrades; out of the office he is usually fly fishing or gardening. Dr. Woods earned his B.S. from Montana State University, his M.S. from Boise State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Idaho.