Building Simulation

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 561–574 | Cite as

Ventilation and energy performance of partitioned indoor spaces under mixing and displacement ventilation

  • Hyeunguk Ahn
  • Donghyun Rim
  • L. James Lo
Research Article Indoor/Outdoor Airflow and Air Quality


Large variation in indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort can occur in partitioned office spaces due to heterogeneous air mixing. However, few published studies examined IAQ, thermal comfort, and energy performance of partitioned occupied spaces, which are commonly found in today’s buildings. The objective of this study is to evaluate indoor environmental quality and air conditioning performance of a partitioned room under two typical ventilation modes: (1) mixing ventilation and (2) displacement ventilation. For a total of six representative air-conditioning scenarios, three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are performed to examine temperature distribution, ventilation effectiveness, energy consumption, and local thermal comfort for two partitioned spaces. Simulation results indicate that temperature distribution in a partitioned room is a strong function of ventilation strategy (mixing vs. displacement), but marginally affected by diffuser arrangements. Local age-of-air (air freshness) significantly varies with both diffuser arrangement and ventilation strategy. Regarding energy consumption, displacement ventilation can achieve an indoor set-point temperature in the partitioned spaces about two times faster than mixing ventilation. Under mixing ventilation, the time to achieve a set-point temperature was notably reduced when each partitioned space is served by its own diffuser. For the same supply airflow rate, displacement ventilation can generate local draft risk at ankle level, while mixing ventilation may result in a draft sensation in wider areas around an occupant. Overall, the results suggest that mixing ventilation system can save energy if each partitioned zone is served by its own diffuser such as a multi-split air conditioning. However, when multiple partitioned zones are served by only one diffuser, displacement ventilation is more energy-efficient and can achieve higher ventilation effectiveness than mixing ventilation.


computational fluid dynamics indoor partition ventilation effectiveness energy consumption thermal comfort draft risk 


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This study was supported by James L. Henderson Jr. Memorial Endowment Funds of the Pennsylvania State University. The authors thank Jennifer Lather for carefully reviewing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architectural EngineeringPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental EngineeringDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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