Using internal fan balancing system to avoid excessive pressurization on high rise buildings in hot and humid climates

Wei Jen Chen*, David E. Claridge, Morad R. Atif

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Infiltration through the building envelope impacts several aspects of building performance. To avoid infiltration-induced issues in hot and humid climates, building pressure is typically maintained at a slightly positive level compared to outdoor pressure in warm weather. However, due to the stack effect, high-rise buildings actually have a different pressurization level requirement at each floor, and a conventional pressurization system is unable to maintain these different pressurization levels. Field pressurization measurements performed on an eight-floor building on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, TX indicate that, when the indoor-outdoor temperature difference is about 11.1 °C, the ground level of the building can have an average 8 Pa pressurization level while simultaneously having an average 1 Pa on the top floor. This results in extra energy consumption due to over-pressurization of the lower floors. An internal fan balancing system is proposed to eliminate or reduce this excess consumption. eQUEST simulation results indicate that 5.8%–7.0% annual savings on the utility bill can be achieved by installing the Internal Fan Balancing System in the same eight-floor building where the pressurization level measurements were performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-95
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Air infiltration
  • Building energy consumption
  • Building pressurization
  • Internal fan balancing system
  • Make-up air

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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