Ventilation, temperature, and HVAC characteristics in small and medium commercial buildings in California

Deborah H Bennett, W. Fisk, M. G. Apte, X. Wu, A. Trout, D. Faulkner, D. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This field study of 37 small and medium commercial buildings throughout California obtained information on ventilation rate, temperature, and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system characteristics. The study included seven retail establishments; five restaurants; eight offices; two each of gas stations, hair salons, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, dental offices, and fitness centers; and five other buildings. Fourteen (38%) of the buildings either could not or did not provide outdoor air through the HVAC system. The air exchange rate averaged 1.6 (s.d.=1.7) exchanges per hour and was similar between buildings with and without outdoor air supplied through the HVAC system, indicating that some buildings have significant leakage or ventilation through open windows and doors. Not all buildings had sufficient air exchange to meet ASHRAE 62.1 Standards, including buildings used for fitness centers, hair salons, offices, and retail establishments. The majority of the time, buildings were within the ASHRAE temperature comfort range. Offices were frequently overcooled in the summer. All of the buildings had filters, but over half the buildings had a filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value rating of 4 or lower, which are not very effective for removing fine particles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Air exchange rate
  • Commercial buildings
  • Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning
  • Thermal comfort
  • Ventilation
  • Ventilation standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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