Multifamily Ventilation Assessment And Retrofit Guide

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Multifamily VentilationAssessment and Retrofit GuideConservation Applied Research & Development (CARD) ReportPrepared for: Minnesota Department of Commerce,Division of Energy ResourcesPrepared by: Center for Energy and EnvironmentCOMM-03192012-55802 January 2016

Prepared by:Corrie Bastian (, (612) 244-2425)Dave Bohac (, (612) 802-1697)Jim Fitzgerald (, (612) 224-2416)Center for Energy and Environment212 3rd Avenue North, Suite 560Minneapolis, MN 55401(612) 335-5858www.mncee.orgContract Number: 55802Prepared for Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy ResourcesMike Rothman, Commissioner, Department of CommerceBill Grant, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Commerce, Division of Energy ResourcesLaura Silver, Project Manager(651) is project was supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce,Division of Energy Resources, through the Conservation Applied Research and Development(CARD) program, which is funded by Minnesota ratepayers.The authors would also like to acknowledge Kirk Kolehma for his assistance with the technicalcontent and Helen Booth-Tobin and Judy Thommes for their editing and formatting of thismanual.DISCLAIMERThis report does not necessarily represent the view(s), opinion(s), or position(s) of theMinnesota Department of Commerce (Commerce), its employees or the State of Minnesota(State). When applicable, the State will evaluate the results of this research for inclusion inConservation Improvement Program (CIP) portfolios and communicate its recommendations inseparate document(s).Commerce, the State, its employees, contractors, subcontractors, project participants, theorganizations listed herein, or any person on behalf of any of the organizations mentionedherein make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the use of any information,apparatus, method, or process disclosed in this document. Furthermore, the aforementionedparties assume no liability for the information in this report with respect to the use of, ordamages resulting from the use of, any information, apparatus, method, or process disclosed inthis document; nor does any party represent that the use of this information will not infringeupon privately owned rights.

PrefaceNearly 18% of Minnesota’s occupied housing units are in multifamily buildings (2010 Census).Evaluating and improving building ventilation can impact building energy performance andindoor air quality, solve odor and moisture problems, and reduce operating costs.The Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) was awarded a 2013 Conservation AppliedResearch and Development (CARD) Grant to identify the most common multifamily centralventilation deficiencies and determine cost appropriate remedies for these deficiencies. Theultimate goal was to develop standardized protocols for screening, diagnosing and retrofittingmultifamily ventilation systems to be used by utility energy conservation programs to helpachieve energy savings goals. The process was also designed to improve ventilationeffectiveness and indoor air quality for occupants.ResearchThe research for this project included the assessment of 18 multifamily building ventilationsystems, with a focus on the following system types: apartment central exhaust systems,corridor ventilation systems and trash chutes. Research also included the development ofretrofit work scopes for over or under-ventilating systems and the implementation of retrofitson six of the building systems. One of the research outcomes included this guide, whichdescribes recommended processes, tools, methods and techniques for assessing multifamilyventilation systems.AudienceThis assessment guide is intended to be used by energy auditors, building analysts, CIPprogram administrators, HVAC contractors and any others consulting with multifamily clientson the operations and maintenance of their building.i

Table of ContentsOverview . 1Scope . 1Impact of Ventilation in Multifamily Buildings . 2Determining Ventilation Airflow Targets in MN Multifamily Buildings . 32015 Minnesota Mechanical Code . 3Best General Approach for Existing Minnesota Multifamily Buildings . 4Ventilation Systems . 5Centralized Apartment Exhaust Ventilation. 5Exhaust Air Inlet Regulating Devices . 6Exhaust Fans . 8Distribution System . 9System Components . 11Central Supply Ventilation Systems . 12Airhandlers . 13Distribution System . 14System Components . 15Trash Chutes . 16Rooftop Termination . 17Dumpster or Compactor Room . 17Trash Disposal Rooms . 19System Components . 19Airflow Measurement Methods . 20Apartment Exhaust Inlet Grille Measurement. 20Exhaust Fan Flow Meter . 21Powered Flow Hood. 22Central Exhaust Fan Outlet Measurement . 23Capture Box Fitted with TrueFlow Meters. 24Calibrated Fan with Pressure Matching . 27TrueFlow Meter Inserted Into the Curb Opening Under the PRV . 29Supply Ventilation Measurement . 30Vane Anemometer Duct Traverse . 31Thermal Anemometer or Pitot Tube Duct Traverse . 32ii

Customized TrueFlow Meter Frame . 33Percent Outdoor Air Temperature Difference Method . 35Outdoor Air Grille: Calibrated Fan with Pressure Matching . 35Conducting Ventilation Assessments . 38Step 1—Phone Survey . 39Step 2—Building Ventilation Screening Visit . 39Conducting the Building Ventilation Screening Visit. 40Step 3—Building Ventilation Diagnostics . 46Site Visit Preparation . 47Building Ventilation Diagnostics . 47Energy and Cost Savings Calculation . 51Ventilation Assessment Report . 54Step 4—Generating work scope . 55Sizing Balancing Orifices . 56Step 5—Post-retrofit Commissioning and Verification . 59Commissioning a central exhaust system . 60Verifying a central supply system retrofit. 62Verifying trash chute system operation . 62Appendices . 63iii

List of FiguresFigure 1. Common centralized apartment exhaust fan configurations . 6Figure 2. Exhaust ventilation flow regulating devices (found behind the inlet register grilles) . 7Figure 3. Clogged orifices . 7Figure 4. Roof Exhaust fans . 8Figure 5. Large utility fan exhausting all apartments in building . 9Figure 6. Exposed roof curb . 10Figure 7. Duct leakage at roof curb below PRV fan . 10Figure 8. Duct leakage around exhaust inlet. 11Figure 9. Central supply only and supply/return systems . 12Figure 10. Types of air handlers . 13Figure 11. Examples of air handler issues . 14Figure 12. Register grilles . 16Figure 13. Typical trash chute configuration . 16Figure 14. Trash chute rooftop terminations . 17Figure 15. Trash chute outlets in the dumpster and compactor rooms. 18Figure 16. Trash disposal access from hallway . 19Figure 17. The Energy Conservatory Exhaust Fan Flow Meter. 22Figure 18. FlowBlaster powered flow hood . 23Figure 19. TrueFlow capture box assembly. 24Figure 20. TrueFlow Capture box . 25Figure 21. Customized capture box with 3 Duct Blaster fans: PRV flow is measured by matchingnormal operating duct pressure. 28Figure 22. TrueFlow Meter measuring flow from under a PRV . 29Figure 23. Vane anemometer . 32Figure 24. Measuring flow with hot wire anemometer . 33Figure 25. TrueFlow meters installed into an outdoor air intake duct . 33Figure 26. Blower door fans adapted to measure air intake flow using the “pressure matching”method. . 37Figure 27. Orifice pressure difference vs. Flow rate through the orifice for 4”x6” duct . 59iv

List of TablesTable 1. Mechanical ventilation requirements for common area types in multifamily buildings,2015 MN Mechanical Code . 4Table 2. Recommended airflow measurement methods . 20Table 3. TrueFlow Meter flow measurement ranges . 25Table 4. Duration of pressure averaging measurement . 26Table 5. Average retrofit costs . 55Table 6. Custom orifice sizes for common apartment inlet flows . 57Table 7. Prefabricated washer sizes, used as orifices for common apartment inlet flows . 57Table 8. Shaft design pressures . 57v

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OverviewThis ventilation assessment guide can be used for multifamily buildings that are covered by thecommercial building code. The commercial code applies to these buildings if they meet any ofthe following criteria: Any conditioned space is shared between unitsDwelling units do not have a separate means of egress (an independent means of egress)Four or more storiesThis guide may also be used for buildings covered by the residential code that have similarcentral ventilation systems. However, for those buildings the residential code ventilationrequirements should be followed, instead of the commercial code listed in the DeterminingVentilation Airflow Targets in MN Multifamily Buildings section of this manual.This guide takes into account two important factors in working with multifamily clients. First,multifamily buildings have multiple stakeholders including building residents, buildingmaintenance personnel, building management personnel, and building owners and decisionmakers. With so many involved parties, coordinating building visits and clearly communicatingwith all parties is essential to minimize the required time and interruption of day-to-dayactivity. This guide emphasizes convenience and efficiency in the assessment methods,equipment and communications in order to provide building management personnel with acomprehensive program that minimizes disruption to occupants. Second, this guideacknowledges the importance of keeping initial assessment costs low, a necessity for uptake ofretrofit investments in the multifamily market. For this reason, the guide segments theassessment process, providing a low-cost initial assessment designed to screen for significantissues that can then be investigated in depth at additional costs when necessary.ScopeThis guide covers the assessment of two of the most common central ventilation system typesfound in Minnesota multifamily buildings: central exhaust ventilation and corridor ventilationsystems. It also addresses the impact of trash chutes on building ventilation. The guide includesrecommended processes, tools, methods and techniques that have been field tested for thefollowing aspects of a ventilation assessment: Screening for ventilation performance issuesDiagnosing ventilation performance issuesRetrofit approaches for improving ventilation performanceThis guide includes background, processes, field forms, tool lists and test methods for assessingcentral ventilation systems: Determining multifamily ventilation flow ratesConducting field visitsCommunicating with building staffWriting retrofit work scopesProviding retrofit oversight, commissioning and verificationMultifamily Ventilation Assessment GuideCenter for Energy and EnvironmentCOMM- 55802 January 20161 Page

This guide provides a stand-alone ventilation assessment process to effectively identify, screen,diagnose and develop retrofit work scopes for multifamily buildings with central exhaust andcorridor ventilation systems or trash chutes. The assessment process can also be integrated intoa more comprehensive building assessment.Impact of Ventilation in Multifamily BuildingsVentilation is outside air brought into the building for improved indoor air quality (IAQ) andgeneral building and occupant health. Acceptable building ventilation reduces levels of carbondioxide, humidity, odors and indoor air pollutants such as secondhand smoke, radon,formaldehyde and other VOCs. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and AirConditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has defined ventilation rates for acceptable air quality inresidential and commercial buildings.Ventilation systems generally include an exchange of air to the outside as well a method ofcirculating air within the building. Ventilating methods include mechanical ventilation, naturalventilation and infiltration. Mechanical ventilation is fan-driven forced ventilation, whilenatural ventilation is passive ventilation through open windows or doors. Air infiltration is themovement of air through air leaks in the building envelope.Ventilation impacts the energy required for heating and cooling based on system efficiency,flow rates and the type

Ventilation Airflow Targets in MN Multifamily B uildings section of this manual. This guide takes into account two important factors in working with multifamily clients. First, multifamily buildings have multiple stakeholders including building residents, building maintenance personnel, building management personnel, and building owners and .

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