Building America Case Study: Predicting Envelope Leakage in Attached Dwellings (Fact Sheet)

Stacey Rothgeb, O. Faakye, D. Griffiths

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


The cost for blower testing is high, because it is labor intensive, and it may disrupt occupants in multiple units. This high cost and disruption deters program participants, and dissuades them from pursuing energy improvements that would trigger air leakage testing, such as improvements to the building envelope.' This statement found in a 2012 report by Heschong Mahone Group emphasizes the importance of reducing the cost and complexity of blower testing in multifamily buildings. Energy efficiency opportunities are being bypassed. The cost of single blower testing is on the order of $300. The cost for guarded blower door testing, the more appropriate test for assessing energy savings opportunities, could easily be six times that and that's only if you have the equipment and simultaneous access to multiple apartments. Thus, the proper test is simply not performed. The objective of the 2013 research project was to develop the model for predicting fully guarded test results (FGT), using unguarded test data and specific building features of apartment units. The model developed has a coefficient of determination R2 value of 0.53 with a root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.13. Both statistical metrics indicate that the model is relatively strong. When tested against data that was not included in the development of the model, prediction accuracy was within 19%, which is reasonable given that seasonal differences in blower door measurements can vary by as much as 25%.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB)

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5500-62676

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102014-4501


  • blower door testing
  • Building America
  • Building America
  • empirical model
  • envelope leakage
  • guarded
  • multi-linear regression model
  • multifamily apartments
  • predicting fully guarded test results
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • single-family attached housing
  • unguarded


Dive into the research topics of 'Building America Case Study: Predicting Envelope Leakage in Attached Dwellings (Fact Sheet)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this