Diurnal and seasonal variation in air exchange rates and interzonal airflows measured by active and passive tracer gas in homes

Gabriel Bekö, Sine Gustavsen, Marie Frederiksen, Niels Christian Bergsøe, Barbara Kolarik, Lars Gunnarsen, Jørn Toftum, Geo Clausen

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Abstract

Outdoor air delivery to buildings is an important parameter in the assessment of pollutant exposure indoors. Detailed and well controlled measurements of air exchange rates (AER) and interzonal airflows in residential environment are scarce. We measured the outdoor AERs in up to six rooms in five dwellings across four seasons using active tracer gas. Night time AERs were also estimated in the bedrooms based on occupant-generated CO2. Passive tracer gas measurements were performed for comparison. AERs changed frequently during the day. Differences in outdoor AERs were observed between individual rooms. Window opening behavior had a strong influence on AERs, which were highest during occupied daytime periods, lowest in the night; highest in the summer, lowest in the winter. Significant differences were found between AERs measured by the different techniques. The median nighttime AER in all bedrooms across the four seasons was 0.49 h-1 with the active tracer gas technique and 1.20 h-1 with the CO2 method. The average winter AER in the five homes with the passive tracer (0.63 h-1) differed substantially from the corresponding AER measured with the active tracer gas (0.25 h-1). Additionally, we studied the pollutant distribution from one room (source room) and interzonal airflows across the dwellings. The air within a given floor was well mixed, with the average tracer gas concentration in the non-source rooms reaching approximately 70% of the source room concentration. There was less air movement between different floors. The position of the internal doors had a strong influence on the air movement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding and Environment
Volume104
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
ISSN0360-1323
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Ventilation
  • Spatial variation
  • Measurement technique
  • CO2
  • Occupant influence

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