UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Air filtration : predicting and improving indoor air quality and energy performance Montgomery, James


Air filtration is used to reduce particle concentrations in the indoor environment to provide improved occupant health due to reduced exposure. Increased focus on occupant health in emerging design standards is leading to the installation of higher efficiency filtration systems. These systems generally have higher resistance to flow and therefore impose a greater energy penalty. Previous air filter models have used simplified assumptions with regards to the dynamics of filter operation, which have limited the potential to determine energy efficiency or optimization approaches to system design and operation. This dissertation focuses on developing an improved air filter model to investigate the potential for system modifications to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor air quality (IAQ) within commercial buildings. A new air filter performance model was developed using generalizable results from ASHRAE Standard 52.2-2012 and validated against laboratory and real-world experiments. The results showed better agreement with laboratory tests than with real operation. The filter model was combined with existing indoor particle dynamics and epidemiological models to determine the impacts of changes to system operation through monetization of operation costs and health benefits. Laboratory experiments were performed to evaluate the role that particle properties and relative humidity play in determining the filter performance changes with the aim of better understanding the reasons for discrepancies in operation between laboratory and field filter tests. Operation can now be optimized by accounting for dynamic characteristics of filter performance. Benefits of improved filtration efficiency were found to outweigh added costs. Adopting specific indoor particle concentration limits is recommended to replace existing specifications relying on filter efficiency. System designs can then be optimized to account for local particle concentration and energy costs. A number of system design changes have been highlighted that allow for simultaneous reduction in operation cost and indoor particle concentrations. Relative humidity has been identified as a critical parameter in filter performance and standardized tests should be modified to account for variability in relative humidity and particle characteristics typical of real operation to allow for improvements to future model predictions.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada