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The actual energy performance of buildings depends on not only the design criteria but also on the construction quality. Original design assumptions can become invalid with unexpected construction quality issues, which can lead to large variations between the designed performance and the constructed performance. Though important, very limited research, especially quantitative studies, is found on investigating the impact of construction quality issues on building energy performance. In this thesis, the air leakage issue related to the installation of recessed lighting fixtures is investigated using numerical simulations and historical experimental data. The construction quality issues of residential buildings in the United States are reviewed, along with publications on building envelope related researches. One case study on air leakage in the recessed lighting is presented to illustrate how construction quality affects the energy performance of the building. The case study utilized 3D computational fluid dynamics to simulate air leakage issues in four different seasons using boundary conditions using historical experimental data set. The results of the case study suggest that some seemingly insignificant construction quality issue can cause significant increase in energy consumption of residential buildings. The thesis provides scientific evidence to help residential construction industry to improve the construction quality of residential buildings in the United States.
Advisor: Zhigang Shen