Changing Ventilation Rates in U.S. Offices: Implications for Health, Work Performance, Energy, and Associated Economics

TitleChanging Ventilation Rates in U.S. Offices: Implications for Health, Work Performance, Energy, and Associated Economics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsWilliam J Fisk, Douglas R Black, Gregory Brunner
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume47
Pagination368-372
Date Published01/2012
Keywordscost-benefit analysis, economizer, health, office, ventilation rate, work performance
Abstract

This paper provides quantitative estimates of benefits and costs of providing different amounts of outdoor air ventilation in U.S. offices. For four scenarios that modify ventilation rates, we estimated changes in sick building syndrome (SBS) symptoms, work performance, short-term absence, and building energy consumption. The estimated annual economic benefits were $13 billion from increasing minimum ventilation rates (VRs) from 8 to 10 L/s per person, $38 billion from increasing minimum VRs from 8 to 15 L/s per person, and $33 billion from increasing VRs by adding outdoor air economizers for the 50% of the office floor area that currently lacks economizers. The estimated $0.04 billion in annual energy-related benefits of decreasing minimum VRs from 8 to 6.5 L/s per person are very small compared to the projected annual costs of $12 billion. Benefits of increasing minimum VRs far exceeded energy costs while adding economizers yielded health, performance, and absence benefits with energy savings.

DOI10.1016/j.buildenv.2011.07.001
LBNL Report Number

LBNL-5035E

Refereed DesignationRefereed