The airtightness of about fifty passive solar homes located throughout the United States was studied using low-cost measurement techniques. These homes are part of the DOE-sponsored Class B monitoring program conducted at the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) to evaluate the thermal performance of passive solar residential buildings. These tests provide the first set of building tightness measurements on a large group of passive solar buildings. The measurements include pressurization tests to measure airtightness and tracer gas measurements to determine air infiltration rates. The pressure tests show a variation in the air-tightness of these homes from 3 to 30 exchanges/hr at 50 Pascal, with a median of 9.5 exchanges/hr. The air infiltration measurements cover a wider range from 0.05 to 3.0 exchanges/hr, with a median of 0.5 exchanges/hr. In comparing the tightness of these homes to other U.S. homes, one finds that these passive solar homes are not significantly tighter than homes built with less of an emphasis on energy use.

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