Results from air quality monitoring and surveys in UK residences

Parag Rastogi, Olivia Nile Sobek, Linda Toledo, Rowanne Fleck, Graeme Jephson, Tim Sharpe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

Abstract

Air pollution is a persistent issue in dwellings worldwide, costing an estimated 10-25 billion US dollars per year to the United Kingdom's national health service alone. However, it is an "invisible problem" since background pollutants are often imperceptible except during acute pollution events such as wildfires. Although public awareness of ventilation has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are few tools available to assess its efficacy. Widely available sensor systems that can measure these pollutants tend to be single units with simple apps and little connection to mitigation, whereas different rooms in a house may have different pollution issues with different recommended actions. In this study, we present the results of a measurement study conducted using a multi-room sensor kit in twenty-nine dwellings across the UK. We also analyze the occupants' reaction to the hardware, data, and a prototype alerting system. The study shows broad awareness of air quality in the participants. However, this awareness rarely corresponded to effective mitigation actions or ventilation provision. The concept of alerts was welcomed by participants if accompanied by actionable recommendations. The data showed significant pollution events, as measured by proxies such as total VOC and CO2, occurring almost daily, particularly in households with gas appliances. These incidents were concentrated around particular times of day and behaviors, indicating that the capacity of infiltration and extract ventilation to bring in adequate fresh air was overwhelmed. No significant outdoor pollution was detected in houses, which was expected given their sheltered peri-urban locations. The study highlights the need for comprehensive implementation of measurement, ventilation, and treatment measures in the UK housing stock to reduce the impact of indoor pollution on health.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 ASHRAE Winter Conference
Pages355-365
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781955516471
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023
Event2023 ASHRAE Winter Conference - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 4 Feb 20238 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameASHRAE Transactions
Volume129
ISSN (Print)0001-2505

Conference

Conference2023 ASHRAE Winter Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta
Period4/02/238/02/23

Keywords

  • air quality
  • air pollution
  • ventilation

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