Online & Oslo, Norway
21-23 June 2021
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Session 3: IEQ and health in schools and kindergartens
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1:00pm - 1:12pm
Reviewing the impact of indoor air quality management and asthma education on asthmatic children's health outcomes – A pilot study
1Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts, Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, LA1 4YW, UK; 2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, 212 Adriance Lab Road, College Station, TX 77843, USA; 3Department of Statistics, College of Science, Texas A&M University , USA; 4Center for Outcomes Research, Houston Methodist, Houston, TX 77030, USA; 5Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, 212 Adriance Lab Road, College Station, TX 77843, USA; 6Program on Asthma Research and Education, Healthy South Texas, Texas A&M School of Public Health, McAllen Campus, 2102 S. McColl Road, McAllen, TX 78503, USA
Indoor air quality (IAQ) impacts asthmatic children's health. Previous research suggests that individual interventions such as home-based education and IAQ management positively impact health outcomes for asthma and other respiratory diseases. This study aims to evaluate the impact of the combination of homebased education and IAQ management with an air purifier as a single intervention, rather than individual interventions, to improve health outcomes of asthmatic children.
This study was conducted between June and November 2019 in McAllen, Texas. Foobot devices were used to monitor the temperature, relative humidity, particulate matter 2.5µm (PM2.5), and total Volatile Organic Compounds (tVOC) in the bedroom, kitchen, and living room of 13 homes. The monitoring was carried into phases of equal length of pre- and post-intervention. Families received asthma education together with recommendations on how to manage and improve IAQ. The children's health outcomes were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study using certified surveys. Comparison of the PM2.5 and tVOC levels and the scores for health outcomes were made between pre-and post-intervention.
The results showed that PM2.5 and tVOC levels reduced significantly after intervention. The health outcomes were improved in asthmatic children. However, only the difference in the health-related quality of life was statistically significant. The results cannot be generalised; however, they provide evidence of the combined intervention's impact, including asthma education and IAQ management, with an air purifier to improve asthmatic children's health outcomes.
1:12pm - 1:24pm
VOC contributions from building materials, furniture, and user equipment in low-emitting and modular classrooms
1OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, Oslo, Norway; 2SINTEF Community, Oslo, Norway; 3NILU - Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
To prevent the accumulation of pollutants in indoor spaces, such as schools, proper source control, and adequate ventilation are necessary. A common approach is to select low-polluting building materials which in turn would reduce the energy demand for ventilation outside occupied hours. However, furniture and user equipment might also contribute to indoor pollutant levels. Modular classrooms, where there is less emphasis on the selection of building materials, are frequently used as a temporary solution when schools are being renovated. This study aimed to assess whether building materials, furniture, and user equipment are sources of pollution that would influence ventilation needs.
The indoor climate in four regular classrooms in a low-emitting school was compared with the indoor climate in four modular classrooms in a prefabricated school, taken in use in 2016 and 2019, respectively. Passive sampling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and aldehydes was carried out in the classrooms under the following conditions: "emptied", "with furniture only", "with furniture and user equipment" and "in normal use". For the first three conditions, the classrooms were measured with either no ventilation or "low" airflow rates. Each measurement period lasted for a week and took place in the period between 2017 and 2020.
The results show that the highest total VOC (TVOC) concentrations were measured in an unventilated modular classroom (3611 µg/m3 furnished; 2626 µg/m3 empty). Turning on the ventilation to low reduced the TVOC concentrations to below 400 µg/m3 in the modular classrooms under the two aforementioned conditions. This was similar to the average TVOC levels measured in unventilated regular classrooms (397±46 µg/m3 furnished; 441±28 µg/m3 emptied).
With the ventilation off, the measured indoor formaldehyde concentrations in the modular classroom for all three conditions without occupancy greatly exceeded the existing WHO guideline value (100 µg/m3 as a 30 min average). With low airflow rates, the average formaldehyde concentrations were considerably reduced but still higher than the measured concentrations in unventilated regular classrooms.
Our results indicate that a substantial proportion of TVOC in regular classrooms was from the user equipment. The high TVOC and formaldehyde concentrations in the modular classrooms signify the importance of selecting low emitting building materials and proper ventilation. Furthermore, the ventilation should be turned on a few hours before occupancy to ensure low levels of air pollutants and a higher airflow rate might be needed during occupied hours, especially for modular classrooms.
1:24pm - 1:36pm
The influence of indoor air quality in classrooms on the short-term academic performance of students in higher education: a field study during a regular academic course
1Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands; 2Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands; 3The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands; 4Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
The indoor air quality (IAQ) in classrooms in higher education can influence in-class activities positively. In this context, the actual IAQ, student’ perceived IAQ (PIAQ), perceived cognitive performance (PCP), and their short-term academic performance (SAP) were examined in two identical classrooms during regular academic courses. During the lecture, key performance indicators (KPI) for the IAQ, i.e. carbon dioxide concentration, particulate matter 2.5, and total volatile organic compounds, were measured. After the lecture, responses of 163 students were collected with a validated self-composed questionnaire and a cognitive test, which covered topics discussed during the lecture. A significant association between the IAQ KPI and the PIAQ was found (p < .000). The PIAQ significantly predicted the PCP (p < .05) and the PCP significantly predicted the SAP score (p < .01). These results indicate that the IAQ in classrooms is associated with the PIAQ and PCP, and therefore is associated with students’ SAP.
1:36pm - 1:41pm
Analysis of natural ventilation of a large educational building using parallel opening windows
1Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands; 2KU Leuven, Belgium
Natural ventilation can be used as a sustainable way of controlling the indoor environment. Natural ventilation by means of openable windows is not often applied in medium to high-rise buildings due to the possibly large wind pressures, resulting in too high indoor air velocities and possible nuisance. However, it has a strong potential to provide ventilative cooling. This study focuses on natural ventilation in a large educational building (Atlas) at TU Eindhoven. Natural ventilation is possible through parallel opening windows (POW). However, there is a lack of knowledge on the application of parallel opening windows in high-rise buildings and how to prevent nuisance and optimize ventilative cooling requires more detailed information. Full-scale on-site experiments and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are conducted. The simulations show that close to the POW very high velocities can occur. However, the incoming jet flows are dissipated within a limited distance, reducing the possible nuisance.
1:41pm - 1:46pm
Ventilation strategies of school classrooms against cross-infection of COVID-19: A review
Chair Indoor Environment, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
With COVID-19 still rapidly spreading all over the world, so far in the Netherlands over 900,000 people were tested to be infected, where 11% of them are children aged from 4 to 17. Some early stage studies observed milder symptoms among paediatric patients, yet existing evidence is not sufficient to determine whether children are less frequently infected or infectious. Despite of this worrying situation, there are still ongoing debates upon whether schools should be reopened under the growing pandemic. Considering the long hours children (will) spend in their classrooms every day, it is of urgent need to determine whether schools and classrooms are equipped with sufficient measures to prevent cross-infection. A literature study is therefore conducted to investigate the common ventilation strategies currently in use by schools and assess their efficiency of preventing cross-infection of respiration-related diseases in the indoor environment, as well as to seek for future solutions. Research articles, standards/guidelines and reports relevant to ventilation in schools/classrooms, airborne transmission of respiratory droplets and advanced air distribution were examined. The results show that in general most schools and classrooms only have natural (opening windows and doors) or hybrid (mechanical assisted) ventilation, where the overall indoor air quality for students is indicated to be not ideal. It is proved that both natural and mechanical ventilation can reduce the airborne transmission of respiratory droplets indoors efficiently when designed, operated, and maintained properly. However, existing standards and guidelines of ventilation in school buildings are mainly based on the control of CO2 and chemical contaminants, leading to a shortage of informative guidance for schools on preventing respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Personalized ventilation (PV) has a promising potential in protecting occupants from indoor air contaminants and thus can be an alternative solution to improving ventilation performance in schools, while systematic studies are needed before PV can be applied to children in classrooms.
1:46pm - 1:58pm
Ventilation rate in classrooms of elementary schools and its association with respiratory infections
Tianjin University, China, People's Republic of
Classrooms in elementary schools have high occupancy levels. In China, usually 40 students share one classroom with a size of 50-80 m2. Students spend most of their time in schools, secondary to homes. Therefore, school environment must have a very important influence to their health. In this study, we investigated ventilation rates in classrooms and the influence on students’ respiratory infection rates.
We invited 10 schools to join our study. These schools were all located in Northeast China with cold winter climate. The locations of these schools covered urban, suburban and rural areas. Classrooms in these schools were all naturally ventilated.
In a total, 47 classes in 10 schools joined our study. Among them, 27 classrooms were for second grade and 20 rooms were for fifth grade. Students in these 47 classrooms were all involved in our study, and resulted a total number of 2020 students. The school hours for all the students are basically the same, with an average of 9 hours per day, 5 days per week. We performed online continuous monitoring on indoor air temperature, relative humidity and CO2 concentrations, from 2018-2019. The CO2 concentrations were used to estimate ventilation rate, either in air change rate per hour or Liter per second per person.
It was found that the indoor daily average CO2 concentration ranged from 400 ppm to 3914 ppm, with an average of 1800 ppm. 85% of the samples exceed the 1000 ppm. Winter had the highest indoor CO2 concentrations. The average daily value was 2300 ppm. 97% of samples were above 1000 ppm. The daily air change rate varied from 0.01 h-1 to 11.2 h-1, with a median value of 0.8 h-1. Considering the high occupancy level in classrooms, we only had fresh air of 1 L/s/person in classroom. The absence rate due to respiratory infections among students were reported by teachers. The average daily absence rate is 1% per day. Winter had highest absence rate.
We use zero-inflated negative binominal model (ZINB) to study the associations between school ventilation and respiratory infections. It was found that an increase of 1 h-1 would reduce absence rate by 30%. The same significant influence on absence rate was observed with another ventilation metric, liter per second per person. It indicated that low ventilation rate was significant risk factor for respiratory infections and airborne transmission might be an important route for infections.
1:58pm - 2:10pm
"Schools on hold" – how simple measures can help improving the indoor environment in schools
Sintef Community, Norway
This work presents the lessons-learned from a Norwegian project called "Skoler på vent" – "Schools on hold" – which is aiming at finding simple and effective measures for improving the indoor climate in schools that have been put on hold. Schools on hold often suffer from dissatisfying indoor thermal comfort which also extents to affecting people`s health, well-being and learning. Measurement data (temperature, CO2-level and relative humidity) have been collected from several rooms in three schools in the municipality of Trondheim, Norway, during two measurement campaigns. Furthermore, interviews with school employees as well as surveys among the students have been carried out during the same periods to gain insights in the perceived indoor environment. Results show that simple measures such as i) removing the lowering of heating set points during the night, ii) checking the radiator valve position at the end of a school day, iii) introducing routines for natural ventilation during breaks and iv) improving the room cleaning routines can improve the perceived indoor environment notably. Furthermore, the applied methodology is discussed and improvements suggested.
2:10pm - 2:15pm
Analysis of the effect of indoor environment on pupils’ health in one Norwegian school during COVID-19 pandemic
1NTNU, Norway; 2NAAF, Norway; 3NILU, Norway; 4Airthings, Norway
The aim of this project is to investigate and predict the quantified effect of indoor environment on pupils’ health in schools in Norway during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The results are based on field measurements of the indoor environment in a Norwegian school. In addition, a survey (Mitt Inneklima) from NAAF was given to the pupils, and the result was investigated by using a machine learning model.
From the field measurements it was found that the indoor temperature was generally too high, the relative humidity was too low, and the CO2-concentration was typically below 1000 ppm.
The survey shows that more pupils are experiencing various indoor climate problems every week compared to the reference school for almost all of the parameters. By using machine learning, it is found that Too hot is an important feature for 11 of the 12 health problems, while Dry air is an important feature for nine of them.
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