A review of airflow rate estimation techniques for natural ventilation in buildings
As natural ventilation involves local and global interactions, the estimation of these interactions can be performed by many approaches. Such approaches, rather more experimental and numerical than analytical, often require a great deal of instrumentation and equipment, which results in higher demands on project budget and funding. The present work is devoted to comprehending the natural ventilation concept, and to assess the existing experimental techniques already implemented for past researchers in the estimation of the ventilation airflow rate due to the wind and thermal buoyancy effects. A brief review of modeling techniques is also presented. This will provide a strong theoretical grasp of the natural ventilation process as part of the main elements in the thermal behavior of buildings. Ultimately, these bases are intended to help choose the most suitable techniques to estimate the natural ventilation airflow rate. The adequate benefit-to-budget technique appears to be the airtightness tests (blower door tests), since empirical Equations relating the airflow directly to the pressure difference in the building for both cases: infiltrations (openings closed) and openings opened, can be obtained. Also, the location of the leakages can be identified without complications, and this technique has the potential to estimate in situ the airflow capacity and friction characteristics of the openings.
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