One of the challenges we have with commercial buildings is the fine line between providing a safe and healthy indoor environment and maximizing energy efficiency. This challenge is exacerbated when it comes to the topic of the “V” in HVAC — ventilation. Ventilation air (or minimum outside air) is essential for balancing building pressurization and for removing, or diluting, the impact of indoor pollutants including various chemicals such as VOCs as well as CO2.
Of course, during part of the year, we can also use ventilation air for free cooling. Bringing in too little outdoor air can result in building pressure issues and can jeopardize the health of the building occupants. On the other hand, bringing in too much ventilation air can have a significant impact on the amount of energy required to heat, or cool and dry, the makeup air.