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Building America Reports

BA-1209: Multifamily Ventilation Retrofit Strategies

By Kohta Ueno, Joseph Lstiburek, and Daniel Bergey    Created: 2012/12/14

In multifamily buildings, central (typically rooftop) ventilation systems often have poor overall performance, overventilating some portions of the building (resulting in excess energy use), while simultaneously underventilating other portions of the building (resulting in diminished indoor air quality). These issues are often tied to multistory stack effects (warm air rising at cold outdoor conditions), and a lack of compartmentalization (airtightness) between floors and between units. These issues are exacerbated by the presence of multistory shafts (e.g., elevator shafts, stairwells, and ventilation shafts). Central corridor supply and makeup air systems combined with rooftop central exhaust systems are particularly problematic. The recommended solution is to isolate the units from one another and from corridors, shafts, elevators, and stairwells by means of greater airtightness.

 

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