Ventilation fundamentals

Frank-Dietrich Heidt

In cold and temperate climates, ventilation and infiltration are a major part of the heating load of high-performance housing. The heat required, HV (Wh), due to any air change rate n (h-1) is:


• V = volume of exchangeable indoor air in m2;

• (pc)air = volumetric specific heat of air ( = 0.34 Wh/m3K); and

An air change rate of 0.5 h-1 in such housing in a climate with 3500 Kd (Kelvin degree days) would result in a heating demand of nearly 36 kWh/m2a. Increasing the air change rate (due to ventilation or leakage) by a mere 0.1 h-1 would increase this by an additional 7.2 kWh/m2a. Accordingly, in the interest of minimizing energy consumption for heating and also in moving air, the lowest air change rate possible to achieve desirable air quality is the goal. Three qualities of indoor air are the oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, the humidity and the concentration of pollutants.

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