Effective residential envelope air sealing reduces infiltration and associated energy costs for
thermal conditioning, yet often creates a need for mechanical ventilation to protect indoor air
quality. This study estimated the potential energy savings of implementing airtightness
improvements or absolute standards along with mechanical ventilation throughout the U.S.
housing stock. We used a physics-based modeling framework to simulate the impact of
envelope tightening, providing mechanical ventilation as needed. There are 113 million
homes in the US. We calculated the change in energy demand for each home in a nationally
representative sample of 50,000 virtual homes developed from the 2009 Residential Energy
Consumption Survey. Ventilation was provided as required by 2010 and proposed 2013
versions of ASHRAE Standard 62.2. Ensuring that all current homes comply with 62.2-2010
would increase residential site energy demand by 0.07 quads (0.07 exajoules (EJ)) annually.
Improving airtightness of all homes at current average retrofit performance levels would
decrease demand by 0.7 quads (0.74 EJ) annually and upgrading all homes to be as airtight as
the top 10% of similar homes would double the savings, leading to roughly $22 billion in
annual savings in energy bills. We also analyzed the potential benefits of bringing the entire
stock to airtightness specifications of IECC 2012, Canada's R2000, and Passive House