Predicting Envelope Leakage in Attached Dwellings

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


The most common method for measuring air leakage is to use a single blower door to pressurize and/or depressurize the test unit. In detached housing, the test unit is the entire home and the single blower door measures air leakage to the outside. In attached housing, this 'single unit', 'total', or 'solo' test method measures both the air leakage between adjacent units through common surfaces aswell air leakage to the outside. Measuring and minimizing this total leakage is recommended to avoid indoor air quality issues between units, reduce energy losses to the outside, reduce pressure differentials between units, and control stack effect. However, two significant limitations of the total leakage measurement in attached housing are: for retrofit work, if total leakage is assumed to beall to the outside, the energy benefits of air sealing can be significantly over predicted; for new construction, the total leakage values may result in failing to meet an energy-based house tightness program criterion. The scope of this research is to investigate an approach for developing a viable simplified algorithm that can be used by contractors to assess energy efficiency programqualification and/or compliance based upon solo test results.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages39
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB), Norwalk, Connecticut

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-58669

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102013-3939


  • algorithms
  • attached dwelling
  • Building America
  • building tightness
  • CFM50
  • common wall
  • guarded blower door
  • infiltration rates
  • multi-family
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • simplified test method
  • unguarded


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