Outdoor airflow into HVAC systems: An evaluation of measurement technologies

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During the last few years, new technologies have been introduced for measuring the flow rates of outdoor air (OA) into HVAC systems; however, an evaluation of these measurement technologies has not previously been published. This document describes a test system and protocols developed for controlled evaluation of these measurement technologies. The results of tests of three measurement technologies are also summarized. The test system and protocol were judged practical and very useful. The test results indicate that one measurement technology can measure OA flow rates with errors of 20% or less without a field-based calibration, as long as the OA velocities are sufficient to provide an accurately measurable pressure signal. The test results for a second measurement technology are similar; however, a difficult field-based calibration relating the OA flow rate with the pressure signal would be required to reduce errors below approximately 30%. The errors in OA flow rates measured with the third measurement technology, that uses six electronic airspeed sensors downstream of the OA inlet louver, exceeded 100%; however, these errors could be substantially reduced through a difficult field based calibration. The effects of wind on the accuracy of these measurement technologies still needs to be evaluated.

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