The importance of infiltration pathways in assessing and modelling overheating risks in multi-residential buildings

With the help of building diagnostics, the causes and solutions to complex problems in buildings can be determined. In central and greater London, an increasing number of cases of chronic, year-round, overheating in buildings have been reported. We present three cases of unexpected temperatures in multi-storey residential buildings. Detailed analysis and modelling of these scenarios have led to an investigation of whether the way in which infiltration is currently modelled in building performance simulation may be exerting a pronounced effect on the results of overheating studies. An EnergyPlus model, of one of the dwellings in a multi-residential building in London, was created to investigate the influence of infiltration and exfiltration pathway assumptions on the prediction of overheating. The simulation results were compared to empirical data and show that the predicted indoor temperatures are highly sensitive to how the infiltration airflow network is modelled. The findings of this study have been used to provide practical guidance for modellers and building designers on critical aspects to consider when creating building performance simulation models to ensure more reliable outcomes.