Investigating Solutions to Wind Washing Issues in Two-Story Florida Homes, Phase 2

C. Withers, J. Kono, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


With DOE goals of reducing existing home energy use by 30% and new home energy use by 50%, it is imperative to focus on several energy efficiency measures, including the quality of air and thermal barriers. This report provides results from a second-phase research study of a phenomenon generally referred to as wind washing. Wind washing is the movement of unconditioned air around or through building thermal barriers in such a way as to diminish or nullify the intended thermal performance. In some cases, thermal and air barriers are installed very poorly or not at all, and air can readily move from unconditioned attic spaces into quasi-conditioned interstitial spaces. This study focused on the impact of poorly sealed and insulated floor cavities adjacent to attic spaces in Florida homes. In these cases, unconditioned attic air can be transferred into floor cavities through pathways driven by natural factors such as wind, or by thermal differences between the floor cavity and the attic. Air can also be driven into a floor cavity through mechanical forces imposed by return duct leakage in the floor cavity.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages91
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction (BA-PIRC), Cocoa, Florida

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-63427

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102015-4595


  • air barrier
  • attic space
  • Building America
  • cooling impacts
  • duct tightness
  • existing homes
  • floor cavity
  • heating impacts
  • multi-story
  • pressure testing
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • retrofit
  • thermal barrier
  • uncontrolled infiltration
  • wind washing


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