Ventilation rates in naturally ventilated primary schools in the UK; Contextual, Occupant and Building-related (COB) factors

Sepideh Sadat Korsavi, Azadeh Montazami, Dejan Mumovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in classrooms is assessed by CO2 levels and Ventilation Rates (VRs). Factors affecting VRs fall into Contextual, Occupant and Building (COB) related factors. This study investigates how VRs are affected by COB factors in 29 naturally-ventilated classrooms in the UK during Non-Heating and Heating seasons. Building-related factors classify classrooms with high or low potentials for natural ventilation, with 45% of classrooms having high potentials. Contextual factors including season, operative temperature (Top), outdoor temperature (Tout), ‘Top-Tout’ and air density can limit or increase VRs. Occupant-related factors classify occupant's good or poor practice of environmental adaptive behaviours. ‘Open area’ as a reflection of all COB factors is strongly correlated with ventilation rates. Results show that 12% and 19% of variations in ventilation rates are explained by open areas during non-heating and heating seasons, respectively. Findings highlight that to have VR of 8 ± 1.28 l/s.p during non-heating seasons and VR of 8 ± 1.07 l/s.p during heating seasons, average open areas of 3.8 m2 and 2 m2 are required, respectively. This difference can mostly be explained by temperature difference between inside and outside. Results show COB factors need to be considered holistically to maintain adequate VRs. Classrooms in which all COB factors are met provide average VR of 11 l/s.p and classrooms in which none of COB factors are met provide average VR is 3.1 l/s.p. This study highlights that 40% of classrooms according to EN 13779 and 80% of classrooms according to ASHRAE Standard fail to provide adequate VRs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107061
JournalBuilding and Environment
Early online date12 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Building and Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Building and Environment, 181, (2020) DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2020.107061

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Professor James Brusey for his comments and insight that improved the paper. The authors would like to acknowledge headteachers, teachers and children in studied primary schools in Coventry for their cooperation. We acknowledge the financial support for the study provided by Coventry University, United Kingdom .


  • CO levels
  • Indoor air quality
  • Open area
  • Primary school classrooms
  • Ventilation rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


Dive into the research topics of 'Ventilation rates in naturally ventilated primary schools in the UK; Contextual, Occupant and Building-related (COB) factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this