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Content archived on 2024-05-14

Materials for healthy indoor spaces and more energy efficient buildings


Ventilation of building accounts for a substantial part (> 20 %) of the total energy consumption in Europe. The recommended ventilation rates have varied significantly during the past 150 years. Still today there are unsolved questions about the ventilation rates that should be used. Lowering the ventilation requirements without compromising the health and comfort of the buildings occupants probably represents the biggest energy saving potential in the building sector today. This potential may be reached by source control in the form of systematic selection of low-polluting building materials and processes indoor.
Extensive efforts are being made by standard writing bodies such a CEN, ASHRAE, DIN and others to write or revise standards for the design of ventilation systems. Until now, most of the standards have been made as "ventilation standard" that prescribe a certain level of ventilation for different types of space. As people have been regarded as the main source of pollution, the requirements are often listed as required ventilation per occupant. Two factors are now influencing the revision and writing of these standards: energy consumption and indoor air quality. This is reflected in a recent publication entitled "Indoor Air Quality and the Use of energy in buildings" by the European Collaborative Action, Indoor Air Quality & its Impacts on Man. As the requirement for insulation of buildings is increased, the transmission heat mosses will be reduced. This means that the energy used on ventilation becomes a relatively more important factor for the total energy use in buildings. Building investigations and laboratory studies including the ongoing JOULE II research project "European Data Base on Indoor Air Pollution Sources in Buildings" have shown that it is not only occupants that contribue to the pollution in buildings; the building itself, the furnishings, as systems are major contributors to the total pollution load in buildings. This means that it is not acceptable to give ventilation requirements as a function only of the number of occupants. There is a need for more detailed and analytical methods for calculating the required ventilation rate, the aim being to provide an acceptable indoor air quality while considering also the energy consumption.
The objectives of the research project are :
- To enhance and extend the European data base on indoor air pollution sources in buildings by performing additional research focused on sorption and other aspects pf particular interest for dynamic situations, aiming at a better link between small-scale chamber testing of single materials and the dynamic situation in real rooms, and by adding emission data for new low-polluting materials.

- To test the developed model for prediction of indoor air quality in real buildings by comparing the measured energy performance and inddor air quality with the results of computer simulations.

- To demonstrate that systematic use of low-polluting materials will read to increased indoor air quality and lower energy consumption.
- To give input to the current standardisation process regarding the definition of the most appropriate ventilation rates bearing in mind the different sources of contamination and the need for an efficient use of energy.

Call for proposal

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Instituto de Engenharia Mecanica
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Rua dos Bragas
4099 Porto

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Participants (6)