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IEA EBC – Annex 86 – Energy Efficient Indoor Air Quality Management in Residential Buildings

Invitation to participate in the EBC Annex

Dr Alejandro Moreno Rangel has been invited to sum efforts with 23 other institutions in 12 countries to investigate Indoor Air Quality in Residential buildings and the use of low-cost solutions to manage the indoor environment in the IEA EBC Annex 86. During the next 4 years, we will be working on different activities to develop an integrated rating method for the performance assessment and optimization of energy-efficient strategies for managing the indoor air quality (IAQ) in new and existing residential buildings.

To achieve nearly net-zero energy use, all buildings in future will need to be more efficient and optimized. As new buildings are already well insulated in certain industrialised countries, the focus is shifting to limiting space heating energy consumption by reducing ventilation demand. Low energy buildings need to be airtight and energy demand for ventilation is often reduced by lowering the ventilation rate to the minimum necessary. Each of these can have adverse impacts on indoor air quality (IAQ). This project is therefore investigating how to ensure that future low energy buildings are able both to improve their energy performance and to provide comfortable and healthy indoor environments.

Reducing the amount of fresh air supplied to a building would save energy, but however may increase the risk of poor indoor air quality. Therefore, it is very important to find the ideal balance between energy efficiency and the need for ventilation. The aim of this project is to use existing data and tools, which in combination give an integrated picture of the air flow, hygrothermal and air quality conditions in whole buildings with a focus on optimisation of their use and operation. This should achieve energy efficiency alongside providing healthy and comfortable indoor environments.

Project Objectives

The two main objectives for the project are:

  1. To provide a scientific basis for the design and operational strategies of buildings that have minimal energy consumption, and at the same time maintain very high standards regarding indoor environmental quality based on the control of sources, sinks and flows of heat, air, moisture, and pollutants under in-use conditions.
  2. To collect and provide data about properties for transport, retention and emission of chemical substances in new and recycled materials under the influence of heat and moisture transfer.

International collaboration is a prerequisite for this effort since market access for innovative IAQ management strategies is currently blocked in many countries due to all kinds of prescriptive regulatory constraints. With the methods developed in the annex, we will be able to generate the necessary body of evidence to take regulatory action to overcome these barriers, generate consensus, open these markets and create a level playing field, which today is limited by very sparse and inconsistent approaches in the different member states.