Methods to Mitigate Costly and Disruptive Stack Effect in Super and Megatall Towers

Mehdi Jalayerian
Executive Vice President
Environmental Systems Design, Inc., Chicago

Risks for developers of supertall and megatall towers come in many forms, as these developments are high profile and complex. One present risk is the financial and disruptive impact of stack effect. Stack effect is the movement of air into or out of buildings due to air buoyancy, caused by a difference in temperature and humidity between the indoors and outdoors. Uncontrolled airflow and pressure related to stack effect always exists – especially in supertall and megatall towers – but can be exacerbated by extreme outdoor conditions. This presentation presented strategies for mitigating risks through simulated stack effect conditions of realistic configurations of megatall towers. Stack effect will be reviewed parametrically to establish a design basis considering a tower’s response related to geographic design conditions, envelope construction, lobby configuration, and space pressurization. Stack effect can be effectively mitigated if analyzed holistically and addressed early in design, resulting in significant energy cost savings.

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