The impact of design ventilation rates on the indoor air quality in residential buildings: an Italian case study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The paper investigates the effects on building indoor air quality (IAQ) resulting from the choice of different design ventilation rates. A reference residential building was analysed by means of the multizone modelling software CONTAM, by monitoring the concentration of two pollutants: occupant-generated carbon dioxide (CO2) and total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) from indoor sources. A demand-controlled ventilation strategy based on building occupancy was implemented and users' presence schedules were defined. Specifically, the evolution of indoor pollutant concentrations was investigated when the design ventilation rates, recommended by two IAQ-related standards (the Italian UNI 10339 and the European EN 15251), were implemented through a mechanical ventilation system. Different results regarding the IAQ level were achieved accordingly to the dissimilar ventilation rates. After a statistical analysis on the distributions of CO2 and TVOC concentrations, EN 15251 outcomes showed overall better results of the analysed statistical metrics, i.e. prevalence, sensitivity and accuracy. Indeed, the EN 15251 design airflows led to indoor conditions that were more often classified either in the correct air quality class or in a higher class. Finally, a better alignment between the national and European IAQ standards is recommended, especially in terms of airflows, air quality classes and pollutant limit values.