Assessing ventilation strategies in a school with observed indoor air problems

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Purpose: Poor indoor air quality in schools is a worldwide challenge that poses health risks to pupils and teachers. A possible response to this problem is to modify ventilation. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to pilot a process of generating alternatives for ventilation redesign, in an early project phase, for a school to be refurbished. Here, severe problems in indoor air quality have been found in the school. Design/methodology/approach: Ventilation redesign is investigated in a case study of a school, in which four alternative ventilation strategies are generated and evaluated. The analysis is mainly based on the data gathered from project meetings, site visits and the documents provided by ventilation and condition assessment consultants. Findings: Four potential strategies to redesign ventilation in the case school are provided for decision-making in refurbishment in the early project phase. Moreover, the research presents several features to be considered when planning the ventilation strategy of an existing school, including the risk of alterations in air pressure through structures; the target number of pupils in classrooms; implementing and operating costs; and the size of the space that ventilation equipment requires. Research limitations/implications: As this study focusses on the early project phase, it provides viewpoints to assist decision-making, but the final decision requires still more accurate calculations and simulations. Originality/value: This study demonstrates the decision-making process of ventilation redesign of a school with indoor air problems and provides a set of features to be considered. Hence, it may be beneficial for building owners and municipal authorities who are engaged in planning a refurbishment of an existing building.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number15/16
Early online date5 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Building-related symptoms
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Natural ventilation
  • Poor indoor air
  • School
  • Ventilation

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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