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Air leakage through the building envelope traditionally has been regarded as an acceptable means of ventilation, although it is a major cause of condensation problems in buildings and can be a contributing factor to rain penetration. Recent concern for energy conservation, promoting the need for air tightness, is still clouded by the notion that some leakage must be provided and that the primary effort must be toward quantifying the resultant energy loss.
This paper discusses the possible effects of wind, stack effect, vents, and fans on air leakage, and the influence of air leakage openings and their location on the pattern of air flow through buildings. The possible extent and location of condensation in relation to these patterns is considered, as well as methods of controlling moisture entry and removal of accumulated moisture. Effort toward the development of construction details, techniques, and standards to ensure air tightness in buildings and building components is advocated as the primary means of achieving energy conservation through improved building performance and extended service life.
air leakage, moisture, humidity, condensation, vapor diffusion, heating systems, chimneys
Coordinator-Building Technology, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario