Conference Year



indoor air quality, energy efficiency, air filtration, biowall, solar decathlon


The objective of this research was to design, demonstrate, and monitor the Biowall; a novel system for improving indoor air quality in a residential building, which has the potential to save energy compared to traditional air quality control. The Biowall was integrated into the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system of a high performance home and utilized plants as a passive filter system to remove volatile organic compounds from the interior space of the home. The testing environment in this study was a 984 square foot efficient residential home constructed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 competition. A number of sensors were installed in the home to monitor the operation of the wall including temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, and total volatile organic compound (TVOC) sensors. The main outcomes of the project included the design and construction of a test platform for the current study and future research, energy results that showed as high as 160% ventilation energy savings over a 1 week test period and $170 per year in projected cost savings versus a traditional ventilation strategy, and lessons learned and suggestions for future research.