Air-tightness field data for dwellings in Ireland

Derek Sinnott, Mark Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Air-tightness plays a major role in both building energy performance and indoor environmental quality. Ireland's National Methodology for the calculation of energy performance of buildings, the Building Energy Rating (BER) includes air permeability characteristics. From an international perspective, many air permeability surveys have been carried out. However, there is a paucity of knowledge relating to the existing housing stock in Ireland. This paper reports the air permeability test results of 28 houses built between 1944 and 2008 and at varying stages of retrofit. The results are compared to past studies and compliance with the existing standards. The effect of construction type, age, design details and retrofitting on air permeability is examined. While statistically small the dwellings are broadly representative of the many that will be retrofitted over the coming years.This paper addresses the lack of practical research in air-tightness for new and retrofitted dwellings in Ireland. The results challenge the perception that newer dwellings are more air-tight than older dwellings. The paper highlights design detailing, workmanship and building control deficits for the studied dwellings. The paper concludes that good design combined with high-quality workmanship, and rigorous control throughout construction is critical to ensure the delivery of a good product. The results can be complied with future research to establish a database for Ireland. The study will contribute to future research and facilitate building professionals to make informed decisions about how to achieve air-tightness standards in dwellings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume51
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • Air-tightness
  • Dwellings
  • Fan pressurisation
  • Measurements
  • Retrofit

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