DataSheet1_Towards a Living Lab for Enhanced Thermal Comfort and Air Quality: Analyses of Standard Occupancy, Weather Extremes, and COVID-19 Pandemic.pdf (107.51 kB)
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DataSheet1_Towards a Living Lab for Enhanced Thermal Comfort and Air Quality: Analyses of Standard Occupancy, Weather Extremes, and COVID-19 Pandemic.pdf

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posted on 25.11.2021, 05:57 by Giulia Ulpiani, Negin Nazarian, Fuyu Zhang, Christopher J. Pettit

Maintaining indoor environmental (IEQ) quality is a key priority in educational buildings. However, most studies rely on outdoor measurements or evaluate limited spatial coverage and time periods that focus on standard occupancy and environmental conditions which makes it hard to establish causality and resilience limits. To address this, a fine-grained, low-cost, multi-parameter IOT sensor network was deployed to fully depict the spatial heterogeneity and temporal variability of environmental quality in an educational building in Sydney. The building was particularly selected as it represents a multi-use university facility that relies on passive ventilation strategies, and therefore suitable for establishing a living lab for integrating innovative IoT sensing technologies. IEQ analyses focused on 15 months of measurements, spanning standard occupancy of the building as well as the Black Summer bushfires in 2019, and the COVID-19 lockdown. The role of room characteristics, room use, season, weather extremes, and occupancy levels were disclosed via statistical analysis including mutual information analysis of linear and non-linear correlations and used to generate site-specific re-design guidelines. Overall, we found that 1) passive ventilation systems based on manual interventions are most likely associated with sub-optimum environmental quality and extreme variability linked to occupancy patterns, 2) normally closed environments tend to get very unhealthy under periods of extreme pollution and intermittent/protracted disuse, 3) the elevation and floor level in addition to room use were found to be significant conditional variables in determining heat and pollutants accumulation, presumably due to the synergy between local sources and vertical transport mechanisms. Most IEQ inefficiencies and health threats could be likely mitigated by implementing automated controls and smart logics to maintain adequate cross ventilation, prioritizing building airtightness improvement, and appropriate filtration techniques. This study supports the need for continuous and capillary monitoring of different occupied spaces in educational buildings to compensate for less perceivable threats, identify the room for improvement, and move towards healthy and future-proof learning environments.

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