Interaction Between Air Barrier System and HVAC in Natatoriums

Track 4: Testing, Analysis & Quality Assurance

Thursday, April 20, 08:00 – 09:30

The air barrier plays an important role in separating high humidity spaces such as pools, saunas, hot tubs, therapy pools, and chemical storage from adjacent spaces. The speakers will use three case studies to discuss the interaction between HVAC pressurization, air flow control, and the impact on occupants by well-planned air barrier solutions. This includes:

  • looking at the impact on athlete performance in a well-planned international competition facility at the Pan Am Aquatics Center in Toronto, Ontario for air tightness and HVAC flow
  • the ability to switch from natural ventilation to full mechanical ventilation while minimizing condensation risk when the natatorium goes from open to airtight at a facility near Washington, DC that has operable doors and windows
  • considerations for a pool installation in a historic building within the original parking garage that utilizes the garage ramp as the base of the pool basin

While each of these projects has different challenges, the building science principles are similar for air tightness, vapor diffusion, and thermal performance which need to be carefully considered in specialty buildings. In addition, it is critical to understand HVAC design in these spaces for supply, return, and control of stratification of air, especially in large spaces that include platform diving spaces and Olympic size pools. In addition, the speakers will describe pressurization considerations and airtightness parameters for adjacent spaces to avoid the smell of pool air in fitness spaces, adjacent residential spaces, and field house space for other sports.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Be able to evaluate HVAC flow in making air barrier design decisions.
  2. Comprehend air barrier detailing needs and the importance of multiple air barrier systems for natatoriums.
  3. Evaluate potential health impacts to occupants and users for natatoriums and adjacent spaces.
  4. Reduce risk for condensation and air exfiltration out of a natatorium space.
Level of content:
Design Professionals
Testing, Analysis and Quality Assurance Program

Paul Totten, PE, LEEP AP

Vice President
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Washington, DC

Paul E. Totten is a Vice President at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and leads the Building Enclosures Division. He has over 19 years of experience in the fields of structural engineering, building enclosure technology and commissioning, and building science. He has concentrated his expertise on the evaluation and analysis of heat, air, and moisture transfer, and the cumulative effect these elements have on building components and building operation. He is past co-chair of the Washington, DC AIA/NIBS Building Enclosure Council, a member of NIBS, ASHRAE, and USGBC and a committee member of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Guideline 3 – Exterior Enclosure Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process. He is a committee member of the NIBS Consultative Council Topical Committee for defining high performance building metrics as well as the past chair for NIBS Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) Education committee. He is the lead instructor for the Building Science and Technology course taught in the Master of Science in Sustainable Design program at The Catholic University of America’s School of Architecture and Planning and a coordinator and lecturer for the AIA DC High Performance Building series.

Amanda Stacy

Consultant – Building Enclosures
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Washington, DC

Amanda R. Stacy joined the Washington, DC office of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in July 2014 after earning Master degrees in Architecture and Science in Sustainable Design. She focuses her career on optimizing building enclosure design through the utilization of sustainable design strategies and a methodology of building performance analytics and energy modeling. Ms. Stacy offers high-performance design and detailing solutions grounded in a thorough understanding of building science, construction technologies, and material performance. She has managed projects through all phases of the building life cycle including design, construction, and operation as well as forensic analysis of existing buildings. Ms. Stacy is a board member for the AIA|DC Technology Committee and a LEED Green Associate.