Energy and IAQ Implications of Alternative Minimum Ventilation Rates in California Retail and School Buildings

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For a stand-alone retail building, a primary school, and a secondary school in each of the 16 California climate zones, the EnergyPlus building energy simulation model was used to estimate how minimum mechanical ventilation rates (VRs) affect energy use and indoor air concentrations of an indoor-generated contaminant. The modeling indicates large changes in heating energy use, but only moderate changes in total building energy use, as minimum VRs in the retail building are changed. For example, predicted state-wide heating energy consumption in the retail building decreases by more than 50% and total building energy consumption decreases by approximately 10% as the minimum VR decreases from the Title 24 requirement to no mechanical ventilation. The primary and secondary schools have notably higher internal heat gains than in the retail building models, resulting in significantly reduced demand for heating. The school heating energy use was correspondingly less sensitive to changes in the minimum VR. The modeling indicates that minimum VRs influence HVAC energy and total energy use in schools by only a few percent. For both the retail building and the school buildings, minimum VRs substantially affected the predicted annual-average indoor concentrations of an indoor generated contaminant, with larger effects in schools. The shape of the curves relating contaminant concentrations with VRs illustrate the importance of avoiding particularly low VRs

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