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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Air Distribution Effectiveness for Residential Mechanical Ventilation: Simulation and Comparison of Normalized Exposures


The purpose of ventilation is to dilute indoor contaminants that an occupant is exposed to. Even when providing the same nominal rate of outdoor air, different ventilation systems may distribute air in different ways, affecting occupants' exposure to household contaminants. Exposure ultimately depends on the home being considered, on source disposition and strength, on occupants' behavior, on the ventilation strategy, and on operation of forced air heating and cooling systems. In any multi-zone environment dilution rates and source strengths may be different in every zone and change in time, resulting in exposure being tied to occupancy patterns. This paper will report on simulations that compare ventilation systems by assessing their impact on exposure by examining common house geometries, contaminant generation profiles, and occupancy scenarios. These simulations take into account the unsteady, occupancy-tied aspect of ventilation such as bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans. As most US homes have central HVAC systems, the simulation results will be used to make appropriate recommendations and adjustments for distribution and mixing to residential ventilation standards such as ASHRAE Standard 62.2. This paper will report on work being done to model multizone airflow systems that are unsteady and elaborate the concept of distribution matrix. It will examine several metrics for evaluating the effect of air distribution on exposure to pollutants, based on previous work by Sherman et al. (2006).

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