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Buffer Spaces

Buffer Spaces are comprised of unconditioned spaces that are part of the building system.

They include:

  • Attics
  • Crawlspaces
  • Unconditioned basements
  • Garages
  • Mechanical rooms

A buffer space is interesting because it participates in the space conditioning loads of a building and complicates determination of building UA weaknesses. Buffer spaces should be assumed to be at a different temperature than either the conditioned space or the ambient temperature. Therefore heat and mass transfer through thermal, air and moisture barriers around buffer spaces is studied at times.

Buffer spaces can usually be studied using other test methods such as described in the walls, leakage and infiltration, temperature, and weather sections.  Fortunately, the air in buffer spaces is not typically convected like the ambient air – this can lead to results with higher confidence levels.

One challenging space is a vented attic. A literature review cites several relevant field test reports. An informational sheet on attic ventilation is also available.