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Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group


The Group develops computer simulation programs and measurement procedures and applies them to better understand the phenomena of air and contaminant transport in buildings and to support industry efforts to improve environmental conditions in buildings in a cost-effective manner. The results of this research are providing reliable methods and to evaluate ventilation characteristics and indoor pollutant concentrations in buildings.

The modeling efforts include the development and application of multizone airflow and indoor air quality models, specifically the CONTAM series which predicts airflows and contaminant concentrations in multizone building systems. CONTAM is based on a graphic interface that allows the user to draw floor plans on a "sketchpad" and employ "icons" to represent airflow paths, ventilation system components, and contaminant sources. CONTAM has been used at NIST to study the indoor air quality impacts of HVAC systems in single-family residential buildings, ventilation in large mechanically-ventilated office buildings, and radon entry and transport in large residential, office, and school buildings.

Measurement procedures are being developed and demonstrated to evaluate building ventilation and indoor pollutant concentrations. These procedures range from sophisticated tracer gas methods used predominantly in building research efforts to less involved procedures that can be employed by building operators. NIST researchers are continually developing new test procedures, and then demonstrating them in the field to evaluate their feasibility and reliability. The efforts in which these procedures are demonstrated in the field has resulted in the development of an important database of building ventilation and indoor air quality performance.

BFRL Portable Generator Video
How Close is
Too Close for
Portable Generators?

(NIST YouTube channel)

Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality in Low-Energy Buildings Project—NIST is developing tools and metrics to both reduce the building heating and cooling loads associated with ventilation and infiltration and to evaluate the indoor air quality (IAQ) impacts of …

Contaminant Control in High-Performance Buildings Project —Net-zero energy strategies have the potential to significantly impact the indoor air quality of buildings. This project is designed to better understand how strategies to achieve net-zero energy …

Products and ServicesMultizone Modeling 

Andrew K. Persily, Leader
Indoor Air Quality Group
(301) 975-6418