DOMestic Energy Systems and Technologies InCubator (DOMESTIC) and indoor air quality of the built environment

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Oral presentation on research project DOMESTIC (DOMestic Energy Systems and Technologies InCubator), focusing on indoor air quality and energy efficiency at a domestic setting.

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Potential impacts of low energy homes were reviewed to identify research needs for indoor environmental quality in California's building energy-efficiency programs. California and several nations are planning to implement low-energy or low-carbon requirements for new and existing homes. These homes will be well-insulated, airtight, high-performance buildings, but they will have a narrower margin of safety for control of pollutant sources, moisture, and ventilation. California has a growing fraction of vulnerable persons, such as the elderly and asthmatics. Indoor environmental quality problems will be impacted by climate change, urban densification, and transit-oriented development. Building technology trends expected to affect indoor environmental quality for better or worse include increased use of insulation, thermal mass, fault-detection and diagnostics systems, integrated design, and commissioning. Several studies of low-energy homes have documented problems, such as overheating, poor maintenance of air filters and ventilation systems, and excess noise. Current indoor environmental quality problems requiring further research include attached space infiltration; effective range hood operation; ventilations system commissioning; and builder, operator, and occupant training. An expert panel and stakeholders helped develop a prioritized list of research needs for various determinants of indoor environmental quality. The major drivers and research gaps were related to human behavior, pollutant sources, and integrated design.
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Indoor air pollution is a complex issue involving a wide diversity and variability of pollutants that threats human health. In this context, major efforts should be made to enhance indoor air quality. Thus, it is important to start by the control of indoor pollution sources. Nevertheless, when the suppression or minimization of emission sources is insufficient, technically unfeasible, or economically unviable, abatement technologies have to be used. This review presents a general overview of single treatment techniques such as mechanical and electrical filtration, adsorption, ozonation, photolysis, photocatalytic oxidation, biological processes, and membrane separation. Since there is currently no technology that can be considered fully satisfactory for achieving “cleaner” indoor air, special attention is paid to combined purification technologies or innovative alternatives that are currently under research and have not yet been commercialized (plasma-catalytic hybrid systems, hybrid ozonation systems, biofilter-adsorption systems, etc.). These systems seem to be a good opportunity as they integrate synergetic advantages to achieve good indoor air quality.
Global climate change, demographic change and advancing mechanization of everyday life will go along with new ways of living. Temperature extremes, an ageing society and higher demands on a comfortable life will lead to the implementation of sensor based networks in order to create acceptable and improved living conditions. Originally, the idea of the smart home served primarily the efficient use of energy and the optimization of ventilation technology connected with new ways of constructing buildings (low-energy and passive houses, respectively). Today the term 'smart home' is also linked with the networking of home automation systems, home appliances and communications and entertainment electronics. Living in a smart home often makes also significant demands on the occupants who are required to drastically change some of their living habits. This review summarizes current findings on the effect of measured environmental parameters on indoor air quality, individual thermal comfort and living behavior in smart homes with focus on central Europe. A critical evaluation of available sensor technologies, their application in homes and data security aspects as well as limits and possibilities of current technologies to control particles and gaseous pollutants indoors is included. The review also considers the acceptance of smart technologies by occupants in terms of living habits, perceived indoor air quality and data security.
The built environment is responsible for significant use of final energy (62%) and is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions (55%). Achieving environmental goals, including climate change mitigation, requires comprehensive methodologies to accurately assess the impacts from this sector. Research to date focuses on either individual buildings or on the urban level (e.g., metropolitan regions). Robust and accurate methodologies have been developed to quantify environmental impacts at both scales. While methodologies overlap between the building and urban levels, assessment remains largely confined within each scale. At the building level, research focuses on materials, architectural design, operational systems, structural systems, construction, and analysis methods. At the urban scale, urban form, density, transportation, infrastructure, consumption, and analysis methods are the main research focuses. The paper presents the major findings at each scale. The work then argues for an expanded analysis framework to account for the interplay between the building and city level captured through a new impact category: induced impacts. This new framework is necessary to address actual patterns of construction (new buildings or retrofits within existing cities) and to quantify currently missing impacts. Based on the findings, a new methodology to capture induced impacts in the built environment is outlined. Finally, practical and policy implications are discussed. Inclusion of induced impacts is critical to achieve environmental objectives within the building sector and beyond.
The inherent limitation in the performance of building envelope components and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment necessitates examination of operational strategies for improvements in the energy-efficient operation of buildings. Because of the ease of installation and increasing capabilities of electronic controllers, operational strategies that could be programmed with these controllers are of particular interest. The objectives are concerned with the examination of various operational strategies applied to older- and newer-type commercial office buildings utilizing constant-air-volume-reheat and variable-air-volume-reheat HVAC systems, respectively. The operational strategies are night purge (NP), fan optimum start and stop (OSS), condenser water reset (CWR) and chilled water reset (CHWR). The indoor air quality requirements are met and the latest applicable energy rates from local utility companies are used for Des Moines, Iowa. The results show that, in general, NP is not an effective strategy in buildings with low thermal mass storage, OSS reduces fan energy, and CWR and CHWR could be effective for chillers with multi-stage unloading characteristics. The most energy-efficient operational strategies are the combination of OSS, CWR, and CHWR for the older-type building, and OSS for the newer-type building. Economically, the most effective is the OSS strategy for the older-type building and the CHWR strategy for the newer-type building.
This paper discusses the attitudes of Sheffield residents to atmospheric pollution and the Clean Air Act, 1956. The majority are aware of air pollution but it is an issue which is low in their problem hierarchy. The magnitude of concentrations of gaseous pollutants is overlooked, and declining levels of participate pollution, the existence of legislation, and press reports have reduced public concern for atmospheric pollution.
Global population and environmental trends demand a radical departure from current building and developmental processes. Applying total building performance thinking can reduce energy consumption, pollution and waste in existing and new construction by a factor of 4 and simultaneously can improve quality of life within buildings—measured through occupant satisfaction, health and productivity. The further development of advanced energy and water systems, and the application of appropriate technology and systems integration concepts will help to enable the elimination of `waste-streams', avoiding obsolescence, as well as managing industrial and agricultural nutrient streams. Instead of treating buildings and their contents as `pre-garbage', worse `pre toxic-waste', all material flows can be considered within life cycles for `cradle to cradle' use. These concepts can make major contributions towards the creation of more sustainable lifestyles with even greater quality in the industrialized countries and the development and implementation of sustainable urban and building infrastructures in rapidly emerging economies. Rather than the continued export of non-sustainable building solutions, this paper argues for the development and demonstration of such practices in the industrialized countries that would create a progressive `pull' to enable the appropriate implementation of new practices.
Indoor environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of buildings addressing indoor air quality, thermal environment, lighting and acoustics
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Clean Air Month in Puerto Rico and Identifying Sources of Indoor Pollution
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The epidemiology of building-related complaints and illness
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Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality in New Homes
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