This study evaluated the airflow through a newly built parking garage structure using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The parking garage was designed with a decorative screen surrounding the structure to enhance architectural appeal. The screen consisted of thin pieces of sheet metal with thru holes of various sizes that created images on the exterior side of the parking garage. A concern was raised that the screen may impede air flow through the parking garage and not meet local building code requirements. Local building codes had specified a minimal percentage opening that all parking structures had to have per floor. Although the base design of the structure in question had larger openings per floor than those required by local building codes, the client requested that Predictive Engineering run CFD analysis to demonstrate that airflow through the parking garage with the surrounding screen design still meet the intent of local building requirements.
Predictive Engineering created a simplified, symmetric, model of the parking garage design and simulated 2 cases, Figure 1. The first case was a baseline design that removed the surrounding screen and reduced the side openings down to minimal building requirements. The second case analyzed the current design of the parking garage with full size openings and surrounding screen. The thin screen was analyzed as porous baffle surrounding the structure. The comparison of these two case studies was provided to the client to demonstrate the impact of the screen in comparison to local building code regulations.