Ventilation strategies and indoor air quality in Swedish primary school classrooms

The present study aimed at investigating the effects of ventilation strategies on indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools. Measurements of thermal environment and IAQ were performed over 5 school days in 45 primary school classrooms in Gothenburg, Sweden, grouped into three categories according to their ventilation system: category A) natural or exhaust ventilation, or automated window opening; category B) balanced mechanical ventilationsystems with constant air volume (CAV) and category C) balanced mechanical ventilation systems with variable air volume (VAV). The classrooms performed equally well with respect to temperature and relative humidity regardless of the ventilation system. The concentrations of the air pollutants in all classrooms were generally below the respective guideline values. The concentrations of CO2, formaldehyde, PM10, and PM2.5 were lower in the B and C category classrooms with higher ventilation rates than in the A category classrooms. Indoor Air Pollution Index integrating concentrations of multiple pollutants was significantly higher the A category classrooms, reflecting poorer IAQ. Majority of the classrooms had lower ventilation rates than the Swedish ventilation requirements. The periodically reduced ventilation rates in the classrooms with VAV systems did not lead to substantial increase in the measured indoor pollutant concentrations.

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