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Detailed investigation of ventilation rates and airflow patterns in a northern California residence.

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Building ventilation rates and indoor airflow conditions influence occupants' exposure to indoor air pollutants. By making time- and space-resolved measurement of 3 inert tracers steadily released in a single-family house in California for 8 weeks in summer and 5 weeks in winter, this study quantifies the air change rate of the living zone with 2-hour time resolution; estimates airflow rates between the living zone, attic, and crawlspace; and characterizes mixing of air in the split-level living space. Occupant behaviors altered the air change rates, primarily through opening windows and secondarily through operating the heating system. The air change rate correlated with the number of window openings, accounting for 57% of the variability measured across 2 seasons. There were substantial upward interzonal airflows between the crawlspace, living zone, and attic; downward airflows were negligible by comparison. More than 70% of the airflow entering the living zone in the winter and at night during summer came through the crawlspace, rather than directly from outdoors. The airflow from the living zone to the attic increased with the attic-outdoor temperature difference, indicating that buoyancy associated with solar heating of the attic induced airflow from the living zone, increasing the air change rate.

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