Risk assessment for airborne infectious diseases between natural ventilation and split-system air conditioner in a university classroom
Pereira, Marcelo Luiz, Vilain, Rogério, Tribess, Arlindo, & Morawska, Lidia (2015) Risk assessment for airborne infectious diseases between natural ventilation and split-system air conditioner in a university classroom. In Proceedings of the 23rd ABCM International Congress of Mechanical Engineering, COBEM 2015, Associacao Brasileira de Engenharia e Ciencias Mecanicas - ABCM, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, pp. 1-5.
Indoor air quality is a critical factor in the classroom due to high people concentration in a unique space. Indoor air pollutant might increase the chance of both long and short-term health problems among students and staff, reduce the productivity of teachers and degrade the student’s learning environment and comfort. Adequate air distribution strategies may reduce risk of infection in classroom. So, the purpose of air distribution systems in a classroom is not only to maximize conditions for thermal comfort, but also to remove indoor contaminants. Natural ventilation has the potential to play a significant role in achieving improvements in IAQ. The present study compares the risk of airborne infection between Natural Ventilation (opening windows and doors) and a Split-System Air Conditioner in a university classroom. The Wells-Riley model was used to predict the risk of indoor airborne transmission of infectious diseases such as influenza, measles and tuberculosis. For each case, the air exchange rate was measured using a CO2 tracer gas technique. It was found that opening windows and doors provided an air exchange rate of 2.3 air changes/hour (ACH), while with the Split System it was 0.6 ACH. The risk of airborne infection ranged between 4.24 to 30.86 % when using the Natural Ventilation and between 8.99 to 43.19% when using the Split System. The difference of airborne infection risk between the Split System and the Natural Ventilation ranged from 47 to 56%. Opening windows and doors maximize Natural Ventilation so that the risk of airborne contagion is much lower than with Split System.
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