Field Testing of Compartmentalization Methods for ...

URL: http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/building_america/compartmentalization_methods_multifamily.pdf%20

The 2012 IECC has an airtightness requirement of 3 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals test pressure for both single family and multifamily construction in Climate Zones 3-8. Other programs (LEED, ASHRAE 189, ASHRAE 62.2) have similar or tighter compartmentalization requirements. , thus driving the need for easier and more effective methods of compartmentalization in multifamily buildings. Firewalls, demising walls, or area separation walls have been identified as the major source of difficulty in air sealing/compartmentalization, particularly in townhouse construction. The current research examined the use of the taping of exterior sheathing details to improve air sealing results in townhouse and multifamily construction, when coupled with better understanding of air leakage pathways. Airtightness testing included "unguarded" testing, or total leakage of each unit (to exterior and to adjacent units), and "guarded" testing (leakage to exterior only). In both the unguarded and guarded testing, no units met the 3 ACH 50 target of the 2012 IECC. The results show no improvement associated with taping of the exterior sheathing. Middle units had worse air leakage than end units; guarded testing showed greater reductions for middle units than end units, which is consistent with one vs. two area separation walls. Substantial air leakage issues were found at the garage (50% interior/50% exterior) and mechanical room. As demonstrated by the inability to reach airtightness targets, further work needs to be conducted on developing airtightness details for area separation walls (or similar demising or party walls).

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Last updated May 6, 2016
Created May 6, 2016
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