Secondary Author(s)

Cummings, James

Report Number




Buildings; Air Flow


Recent research over the last few years is providing a better understanding about the building envelope of small commercial buildings. These buildings have very similar construction to single-family residential buildings, but unlike residential buildings, they usually have a suspended tile ceiling between the conditioned space and ceiling or attic space. Testing indicates that the building envelope in small commercial buildings is substantially less airtight than residential buildings and the cause is associated with the suspended ceiling. Ceiling airtightness test results from two buildings are presented in this paper and show that they are very leaky. The pathways in the ceiling plane are one necessary constituent for airflow to occur across the ceiling. The second constituent needed is a pressure difference across the ceiling. Data and observations from three buildings are used to illustrate the impact that four primary driving forces and a leaky ceiling have on small commercial buildings. The severity of impact from ceiling air leakage failure depends on the amount, direction, and quality of airflow.

Date Published



Reference Publication: Peer reviewed symposium paper presented at: Twelfth Symposium on Improving Building Systems in Hot and Humid Climates May 2000 San Antonio, Texas

Local Subjects

Buildings - Air Flow


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



Rights Statement

In Copyright