Indoor Air Quality Simulation Software and Application to Aerosol Transport - IBPSA-USA Education Committee


Education Committee of IBPSA-USA


September 17, 2020

This two-part presentation introduces the indoor air quality modeling software CONTAM and the web-based tool FaTIMA for modeling the Fate and Transport of Indoor Microbiological Aerosols. These publicly available tools are developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
In the first part we will introduce the concept of multizone airflow and contaminant transport modeling and present the capabilities of CONTAM. We will then touch on the advanced modeling capabilities that include coupling between CONTAM and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and co-simulation between CONTAM and the energy modeling programs EnergyPlus and TRNSYS.

In the second part we will present FaTIMA, which is a recently developed, web-based front end to the CONTAM simulation engine, ContamX. We will introduce the model capabilities, user inputs, and results generated. We will then present the use of the tool in evaluating the relative effectiveness of various measures to reduce exposure to infectious aerosols including: wearing of face coverings, increasing ventilation, increasing filtration, and using portable air cleaners. This presentation will help modelers, building owners, and facility managers to understand and apply FaTIMA to their own situations.

Learning Objectives (Approved for 1 AIA HSW Learning Unit)​: 

Attendees will  be able to:
  • Describe NIST-developed, whole-building indoor air quality (IAQ) modeling software, CONTAM, and related simulation tools
  • Understand the fundamentals of multizone modeling and advanced capabilities of CONTAM software including coupled energy, airflow, and IAQ analysis
  • Describe the web-based software FaTIMA including its development, inputs, and outputs.
  • Apply FaTIMA to evaluate aerosol exposure as influenced by HVAC system type, ventilation rates, filtration, and other mitigation strategies. 

Date & Time: Thu, September 17, 2020; 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PDT

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Speaker Bios:

Both Lisa Ng and W. Stuart Dols are mechanical engineers in the Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation Group of the Energy and Environment Division of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Lisa graduated from the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at Drexel University with her bachelor’s and Ph.D. She works on airflow and indoor air quality performance in buildings, with a focus on low-energy buildings as well as energy efficiency design and operation strategies in general. She is active in the development of strategies for incorporating more accurate infiltration estimates in building energy models and the application of multizone airflow and indoor air quality (IAQ) models to a range of building performance issues.

Stuart has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a MS in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. He currently  works on developing, maintaining, and applying building simulation tools including the CONTAM multi-zone airflow and contaminant transport simulation program and related software. His current areas of focus include developing and applying the coupling between CONTAM and the energy analysis tools EnergyPlus and TRNSYS. He also led the recent development of the web-based simulation tool to simulate the Fate and Transport of Indoor Microbiological Aerosols (FaTIMA).