Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in Naturally-ventilated Primary Schools in the UK: Occupant-Related Factors

Sepideh Sadat Korsavi, Azadeh Montazami, Dejan Mumovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


IAQ is affected by Context, Occupant and Building (COB) related factors. This paper evaluates IAQ as a function of occupant-related factors including occupants' Adaptive Behaviours (ABs), occupancy patterns, occupant's generation rates and occupancy density. This study observed occupant-related factors of 805 children in 29 naturally-ventilated (NV) classrooms in UK primary schools during Non-Heating and Heating seasons.

Occupant-related factors affecting IAQ include occupants' adaptive behaviours, occupancy patterns, occupants' CO2 generation rate and occupancy densities. Results of this study suggest that a classroom with high potentials for natural ventilation does not necessarily provide adequate IAQ, however, occupants’ good practice of ABs is also required. Average occupancy densities to have CO2 levels of 1000 ± 50 ppm are suggested to be 2.3 ± 0.05m2/p and 7.6 ± 0.25 m3/p. These values correspond to classroom area of 62.1 ± 1.35 m2 and volume of 205.2 ± 6.75 m3 with a height of 3.3 m. Mean CO2 level is maintained below 900 ppm when all occupant-related factors are in the favour of IAQ, however, it exceeds 1300 ppm when none of the occupant-related factors is in favour of IAQ.

It is shown that 17% of CO2 variations are explained by open area (m2), 14% by occupants' generation rates (cm3/s) and 11% by occupancy density (m3/p). IAQ is mostly affected by occupants’ adaptive behaviours than other occupant-related factors in naturally-ventilated classrooms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalBuilding and Environment
Early online date31 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2020


  • Indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • CO2 levels
  • levels
  • Occupants
  • Adaptive behaviours
  • Occupancy density (OD)
  • Primary schools

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