A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) analysis of a recent EPA survey* of 100 representative U.S. public and commercial buildings found that actual post-construction ventilation conditions are often different than expected based on the building design. The analyzed data showed frequent instances of underventilation, a condition that can cause poor air quality, occupant discomfort and even illness, as well as overventilation, a situation that can boost energy costs dramatically.
The NIST researchers said such findings highlight the importance of early testing of a ventilation system's ability to achieve design intent. The differences between actual versus the predicted ventilation rates also argue for subsequent regular maintenance checks. They noted instances where building engineers could not find ventilation systems plans or found the ventilation system equipment itself inaccessible and urged building designers and operators to remedy the situations.