Residential air exchange rates for use in indoor air and exposure modeling studies

J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. Oct-Dec 1993;3(4):407-16.


Data on air exchange rates are important inputs to indoor air quality models. Indoor air models, in turn, are incorporated into the structure of total human exposure models. Fragmentary data on residential ventilation rates are available in various governmental reports, journal articles, and contractor reports. Most of the published papers present data on only a few homes to answer very specialized questions, and none of these publications summarize the ventilation rates of a large population of homes across the United States. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) has conducted more than 4000 residential perfluorocarbon tracer (PFT) measurements and brought them together into a large data base from about 100 studies in the United States and elsewhere. This paper analyzes the BNL PFT data base to generate frequency distributions and summary statistics for different regions of the United States, different seasons, and different levels within the homes. The data analyses suggest that residential ventilation rates are similar in the northeastern and northwestern states but higher in the southwestern states. Winter and fall ventilation rates are similar, but the rates are slightly higher in spring, and much higher in summer. Multi-level residences have higher air exchange rates than single-level residences. Although the BNL data are not a representative sample of homes in the United States, these analyses give insight into the range of air exchange rates found in the United States under a great variety of conditions and are intended for use by developers of models of indoor air quality and total human exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Seasons
  • United States
  • Ventilation / standards
  • Ventilation / statistics & numerical data*