High Accuracy, Low Cost Building Ventilation Verification Tool

Caton Mande, UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center


The ventilation rate is an essential parameter that affects the indoor air quality and energy consumption of buildings. Inadequate ventilation is a common problem in existing buildings that may affect the health and productivity of occupants. Furthermore, occupants of under-ventilated buildings are largely unaware of the problem. Current tools and methods for commissioning and measuring building ventilation rates are not a cost-effective way to identify problem areas in existing building ventilation systems because they are time and labor intensive. Thus, it can be challenging to effectively prioritize areas that require more intensive testing or recommissioning.

The UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center, with funding from the Office of Naval Research, is developing a high accuracy, low cost ventilation verification tool that measures the carbon dioxide decay rate building-wide on a per-zone level and automatically calculates the current air exchange rate. The tool has been tested in a multi-zone office building and the results were within 5% of tests performed using traditional testing and balancing methods.

In addition to directly measuring the building air exchange rate per zone, this tool will enable building managers or occupants to quickly identify problem areas in existing buildings or verify measurements performed by testing and balancing professionals. These additional benefits could provide building managers and occupants with more quantitative data to support efforts to reduce the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 in buildings.

Lesson Objectives:

–          Demonstrate how people are not good indoor air quality sensors

–          Identify operating principles for various air measurement tools

–          How carbon dioxide decay can be used to measure the zone air exchange rate




Sponsored by:

Holding over 650 technical patents, Dwyer Instruments, Inc. is a global leader in designing and manufacturing controls, sensors, and instrumentation solutions to the HVAC market. Investing in state-of-the-art R&D facilities for best-in-class product testing and verification has not only kept Dwyer relevant for over 85 years, it has also kept us on the cutting-edge of product development. Using the most advanced computer modeling software to simulate real world situations helps Dwyer to create more accurate measurement techniques in our products. Innovative HVAC product designs have been recognized by industry experts; most recently for the 490W Hydronic Differential Pressure Manometer – the most innovative HVAC water balancing instrument. AABC members receive 10% discount off all test equipment online orders with promo code “AABC.”

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Jul 21 2021


2:00 pm


  • Caton Mande
    Caton Mande
    UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center

    Caton focuses on developing advanced control systems and characterizing the performance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. He also has expertise in high accuracy airflow measurements using carbon-dioxide as a tracer.

    Caton has completed studies on a number of energy saving technologies which include: switched reluctance motors, condenser-air pre-cooling, indirect evaporative cooling, retrofit radiant cooling systems with chilled water storage, hybrid air conditioners, and sub wet-bulb evaporative chillers. He also helped design and develop the UC Davis Solar Thermal Energy Enhancement Laboratory.

    Caton holds a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from UC Davis and Master of Science in Computer Science from Georgia Tech.

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