Influence of ventilation and filtration on indoor particle concentrations in urban office buildings
Quang, Tran Ngoc, He, Congrong, Morawska, Lidia, & Knibbs, Luke D. (2013) Influence of ventilation and filtration on indoor particle concentrations in urban office buildings. Atmospheric Environment, 79, pp. 41-52.
This study aimed to quantify the efficiency of deep bag and electrostatic filters, and assess the influence of ventilation systems using these filters on indoor fine (<2.5 µm) and ultrafine particle concentrations in commercial office buildings. Measurements and modelling were conducted for different indoor and outdoor particle source scenarios at three office buildings in Brisbane, Australia. Overall, the in-situ efficiency, measured for particles in size ranges 6 to 3000 nm, of the deep bag filters ranged from 26.3 to 46.9% for the three buildings, while the in-situ efficiency of the electrostatic filter in one building was 60.2%. The highest PN and PM2.5 concentrations in one of the office buildings (up to 131% and 31% higher than the other two buildings, respectively) were due to the proximity of the building’s HVAC air intakes to a nearby bus-only roadway, as well as its higher outdoor ventilation rate. The lowest PN and PM2.5 concentrations (up to 57% and 24% lower than the other two buildings, respectively) were measured in a building that utilised both outdoor and mixing air filters in its HVAC system. Indoor PN concentrations were strongly influenced by outdoor levels and were significantly higher during rush-hours (up to 41%) and nucleation events (up to 57%), compared to working-hours, for all three buildings. This is the first time that the influence of new particle formation on indoor particle concentrations has been identified and quantified. A dynamic model for indoor PN concentration, which performed adequately in this study also revealed that using mixing/outdoor air filters can significantly reduce indoor particle concentration in buildings where indoor air was strongly influenced by outdoor particle levels. This work provides a scientific basis for the selection and location of appropriate filters and outdoor air intakes, during the design of new, or upgrade of existing, building HVAC systems. The results also serve to provide a better understanding of indoor particle dynamics and behaviours under different ventilation and particle source scenarios, and highlight effective methods to reduce exposure to particles in commercial office buildings.
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