Ventilation rates in the bedrooms of 500 Danish children

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The ongoing "Indoor Environment and Children's Health" (IECH) study investigates the environmental risk factors in homes and their association with asthma and allergy among children aged 1-5 years. As part of the study, the homes of 500 children between 3 and 5 years of age were inspected. The selected children included 200 symptomatic children (cases) and 300 randomly selected children (bases). As part of the inspection, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the bedrooms of the children was continuously measured over an average of 2.5 days. The ventilation rates in the rooms during the nights when the children were sleeping in the room were calculated using a single-zone mass balance for the occupant-generated CO2. The calculated air change rates were log-normally distributed (R-2 > 0.98). The geometric mean of the air change rates in both the case and the base group was 0.46 air changes per hour (h(-1); geom. SD = 2.08 and 2.13, respectively). Approximately 57% of both cases and bases slept at a lower ventilation rate than the minimum required ventilation rate of 0.5 h(-1) in new Danish dwellings. Only 32% of the bedrooms had an average CO2 concentration below 1000 ppm during the measured nights. Twenty-three percent of the rooms experienced at least a 20-minute period during the night when the CO2 concentration was above 2000 ppm and 6% of the rooms experienced concentrations above 3000 ppm. The average air change rate was higher with more people sleeping in the room. The air change rate did not change with the increasing outdoor temperature over the 10-week experimental period. The calculation method provides an estimate of the total airflow into the bedroom, including airflows both from outdoors and from adjacent spaces. To study the accuracy of the calculated air change rates and their deviation from the true outside air change rates, we calculated CO2 concentrations at different given air change rates using an indoor air quality and ventilation model (Contam). Subsequently we applied our calculation procedure to the obtained data. The air change rate calculated from the generated CO2 concentrations was found to be between 0% and 51% lower than the total air change rate defined in the input variables for the model. It was, however, higher than the true outside air change rate. The relative error depended on the position of the room in relation to the adjacent rooms, occupancy in the adjacent room, the nominal air change rate and room-to-room airflows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding and Environment
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2289-2295
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Ventilation rate
  • Children
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Homes

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