On the Development of Health-Based Ventilation Guidelines: Principles and Framework

Paolo Carrer*, Eduardo de Oliveira Fernandes, Hugo Santos, Otto Hänninen, Stylianos Kephalopoulos, Pawel Wargocki

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper summarizes the results of HealthVent project. It had an aim to develop health-based ventilation guidelines and through this process contribute to advance indoor air quality (IAQ) policies and guidelines. A framework that allows determining ventilation requirements in public and residential buildings based on the health requirements is proposed. The framework is based on three principles: 1. Criteria for permissible concentrations of specific air pollutants set by health authorities have to be respected; 2. Ventilation must be preceded by source control strategies that have been duly adopted to improve IAQ; 3. Base ventilation must always be secured to remove occupant emissions (bio-effluents). The air quality guidelines defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) outside air are used as the reference for determining permissible levels of the indoor air pollutants based on the principle that there is only one air. It is proposed that base ventilation should be set at 4 L/s per person; higher rates are to be used only if WHO guidelines are not followed. Implementation of the framework requires technical guidelines, directives and other legislation. Studies are also needed to examine the effectiveness of the approach and to validate its use. It is estimated that implementing the framework would bring considerable reduction in the burden of disease associated with inadequate IAQ.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1360
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Indoor air quality
  • Health risks
  • Ventilation
  • Building management

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