A two-year field study of the best ways to use attic ventilation and insulation is being launched by the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA).

Several types of attic ventilation, including static vents in the roof, gables and soffits, and wind-driven turbine ventilators, will be studied in various climate, ERDA said.

In addition, the study will look at electrically powered fans used in the gables or through the roof to ventilate the attic, and fans in the attic floor used to ventilate the whole house.

Participants in the overall project include Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Princeton University, and the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). The American Ventilation Association and the Home Ventilation Institute are cooperating in the NBS portion of the study which is jointly cosponsored by NBS, ERDA, and the Federal Energy Administration.

Separate research performed by LBL and Princeton University is being solely sponsored by ERDA. Overall coordination and managements of all three study efforts is being conducted by ERDA.

Most household attics in the United States are not purposely heated or cooled, but they usually contain some means of ventilation such as louvers, soffit vents, or windows, ERDA pointed out in a press release. In summer an attic can become extremely hot and in winter very cold.

According to Dr. Maxine Savitz, director of ERDA's Division of Buildings and Community Systems, the use of attic insulation in combination with various types of ventilation in the attic has not been thorougly examined.

"This program will try to obtain specific answers to questions people have been asking about the energy efficiency of attic ventilation," Savitz said.

Savitz says that the study will measure the degrees of comfort in the house as a result of attic ventilation as well as the direct energy conserving effects.