Reducing Air Pollution in Buildings

The UK company is seeking architects, commercial property developers, civil engineering companies, facilities management teams and infrastructure developers to utilise the service for properties such as commercial buildings, hotels, hospitals, schools, retail outlets and major urban developments.

An integrated service to measure and minimise the impacts of air pollution and airborne contaminants on air quality in buildings

Requested co-operation:

engineering, technical consultancy, quality control, maintenance.

More information:

The UK company offers an integrated service for monitoring air quality and modelling contaminant dispersion in and around buildings. The service includes modelling external contaminants and their ingress into buildings through physical testing in a wind tunnel, numerical simulations and mathematical techniques. Solutions are provided to allow air quality to conform to relevant UK and European standards. The UK company is searching for commercial agreements with technical assistance.

Air quality is an issue for architects, construction companies, building owners, managers and many other stakeholders who have responsibilities for the health, safety and comfort of occupants. As people typically spend about 90% of their time indoors, their total exposure to many air pollutants largely depends on their indoor concentration. These pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide, particulate matter and fibres, and biological particles such as bacteria, fungi and pollen. Pollutants’ impacts on health depend on their toxicity, concentration and exposure period, and range from odour and irritation to serious toxic effects. Poor air quality has also been linked to problems for inhabitants such as Sick Building Syndrome, reduced productivity in offices and impaired learning in schools.

The current UK Building Regulations concerning ventilation set performance criteria for several air pollutants, including VOCs, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. The control of pollutants depends on both tackling their sources and having adequate ventilation with fresh, outdoor air.

A UK company offers an integrated service for monitoring air quality in buildings and modelling contaminant dispersion around buildings and their surrounding environment. Key components of the service include on-site monitoring air quality, testing in a large environmental wind tunnel, measurements of building ventilation, building vulnerability assessments and the use of a Computational Fluid Dynamics model (using the Large Eddy Simulation approach) which has been developed over the last six years to predict pollution dispersion in complex urban geometry.

The UK company’s integrated service allows for identification of pollutant sources, how they disperse in the environment and solutions to reduce contaminant ingress to improve the indoor air quality for the inhabitants of the building.

The UK company’s service is based on extensive experience in this area and includes:

Evaluating indoor air quality in commercial buildings, hospitals, hotels, schools, homes etc. They undertake a wide range of measurements and carry out sampling and analysis within an accredited UKAS framework. Use of a large environmental wind tunnel a scaled model of a building and its surrounding environment can be produced as part of the service. Pollutant sources can be activated in different areas of the model to see how different wind conditions affect the dispersion of the pollutant and its ingress into the building in question (see attached smoke dispersion test picture). From the results of such studies, solutions can be provided on effective location of ventilation inlets and outlets and protection measures to reduce ingress into the building. Measuring air exchange rates in buildings and advising on remedial actions.  Advising on appropriate mechanical ventilation systems and evaluating the performance of air cleaners  Evaluating the impacts of contaminant sources in the surrounding environment on indoor air quality and assess the risk to personal health.

A report is developed after the monitoring, modelling and testing phase has taken place, which provides recommendations on how the air quality within the environment in question can be improved and monitored on an ongoing basis.

The UK company is actively involved in developing guidelines and regulations for the measurement and control of indoor air pollution and involved in relevant sections in the 2006 UK Building Regulations. Such involvement has allowed the company to build the service around required standards and they are constantly improving the service to address future legislation requirements.

Innovative aspects:

The UK company’s large environment wind tunnel is one of the few European facilities that enable architects and engineers to understand how outdoor pollutants disperse around buildings and how they can be drawn into ventilation systems. Physical modelling in wind tunnels is often the only way to evaluate the impact of pollutant dispersion over complex urban geometries. It shows how discharges of dust, gases, fires, particles and odours are influenced by local topography, surrounding structures and wind conditions. This helps designers to decide upon the size, shape and orientation of buildings and the optimum positioning of ventilation inlets.

To complement its wind tunnel capability, the UK company also has access to a CFD model using the Large Eddy Simulation approach. This model was developed over the last few years and is used to predict pollutant dispersion in complex urban geometries (see attached profile picture). Initial validation of the model has been carried out and the results show that it is clearly superior to other currently existing models.

If you would like some more information, please contact Neil Roach on 01872 613003.

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