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1. Why ventilation rates are important

Rates of ventilation with outdoor air can influence building energy consumption, satisfaction with indoor air quality, occupant health, illness absence, and human performance. In general, higher minimum ventilation rates (when air economizers are not activated) increase energy use. However, research has found that higher ventilation rates are often associated with improved satisfaction with indoor air quality, fewer sick building syndrome symptoms, increased work performance, and decreased absence rates in schools. 

See IAQ Scientific Findings Resource Bank for a review of ventilation rates affect people's perceptions, heath, and performance.

Seeking to strike a balance between the the energy costs and human outcome improvements with increased ventilation, minimum ventilation rate standards specify minimum required outdoor air ventilation rates, with requirements varying by building types. 

In California, minimum ventilation rates are specified in Section 120.1 - Requirements for Ventilation - of the Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards [1]. Other locations in the United States have similar minimum ventilation requirements, often based on Standard 62.1 of the American Society of Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) [2].