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Special Issue "Indoor Environmental Quality"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Ling Tim Wong

Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +852-2766-7783
Interests: indoor environmental quality; thermal comfort; built environment; water systems in buildings
Guest Editor
Assoc. Prof. Kwok Wai Mui

Department of Building Services Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: indoor environmental monitoring and assessment; building energy; thermal comfort; indoor air quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Collaborative research efforts towards understanding indoor environmental health risks and practical solutions for improving indoor environmental quality in buildings, while reducing cost, resource and energy consumption impacts can lead to advances in sustainable built environments. Related topics include, but are not limited to, environmental exposure and health risk assessment; assessment and modelling; indoor air quality; bioaerosols; dampness and mold growth; climate control; thermal comfort; ventilation; occupant perception, acceptance and response; economic impacts and policies; low-cost housing; and sustainable built environments. All research outcomes are intended to contribute to the development of best management practices in indoor and built environments for public and environmental health sciences. This Special Issue is open to any subject area relating to indoor environmental quality and health. Research papers, analytical reviews, case studies, conceptual frameworks, and policy-relevant articles are welcome.

Assoc. Prof. Ling Tim Wong
Assoc. Prof. Kwok Wai Mui
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Assessment and modelling
  • Bioaerosols
  • Climate control
  • Dampness and mold growth
  • Economic impacts and policies
  • Environmental exposure and health risk assessment
  • Indoor air quality
  • Low-cost housing
  • Occupant perception, acceptance and response
  • Sustainable built environment
  • Thermal comfort
  • Ventilation

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Healthy Indoor Environments: The Need for a Holistic Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1874; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091874
Received: 1 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
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Abstract
Indoor environments have a large impact on health and well-being, so it is important to understand what makes them healthy and sustainable. There is substantial knowledge on individual factors and their effects, though understanding how factors interact and what role occupants play in
[...] Read more.
Indoor environments have a large impact on health and well-being, so it is important to understand what makes them healthy and sustainable. There is substantial knowledge on individual factors and their effects, though understanding how factors interact and what role occupants play in these interactions (both causative and receptive) is lacking. We aimed to: (i) explore interactions between factors and potential risks if these are not considered from holistic perspective; and (ii) identify components needed to advance research on indoor environments. The paper is based on collaboration between researchers from disciplines covering technical, behavioural, and medical perspectives. Outcomes were identified through literature reviews, discussions and workshops with invited experts and representatives from various stakeholder groups. Four themes emerged and were discussed with an emphasis on occupant health: (a) the bio-psycho-social aspects of health; (b) interaction between occupants, buildings and indoor environment; (c) climate change and its impact on indoor environment quality, thermal comfort and health; and (d) energy efficiency measures and indoor environment. To advance the relevant research, the indoor environment must be considered a dynamic and complex system with multiple interactions. This calls for a transdisciplinary and holistic approach and effective collaboration with various stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
Open AccessArticle Ventilation and Air Quality in Student Dormitories in China: A Case Study during Summer in Nanjing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1328; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071328
Received: 20 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
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Abstract
The Air quality in student dormitories can have a major impact on the health of millions of students in China. This study aims to investigate the ventilation and air quality in student dormitories. Questionnaire survey was conducted in eight dormitory buildings and field
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The Air quality in student dormitories can have a major impact on the health of millions of students in China. This study aims to investigate the ventilation and air quality in student dormitories. Questionnaire survey was conducted in eight dormitory buildings and field measurements were conducted in one dormitory during the summer in Nanjing. The survey result reveals that most students thought the indoor and outdoor air quality was neutral and the correlation between indoor and outdoor perceived air quality is statistically significant. There are few indoor PM2.5 and ozone sources in dormitories and natural ventilation is the most common form of ventilation. However, there is no statistically significant correlation between window opening behaviors and the perceptions of indoor and outdoor air quality. The field measurement result shows the measured I/O ratios of PM2.5 and ozone over 37 days are in the range of 0.42–0.79 and 0.21–1.00, respectively. The I/O ratios for PM2.5 and ozone are 0.49 ± 0.05 and 0.26 ± 0.05 in the case of the window being closed, and the I/O ratios for PM2.5 and ozone are 0.65 ± 0.08 and 0.50 ± 0.15 in the case of the window being open. The outdoor and indoor ozone concentrations show pronounced diurnal periodic variations, while the PM2.5 concentrations do not. Finally, recommended open/close window strategies are discussed to reduce indoor pollutant levels. Understanding the indoor/outdoor PM2.5 and ozone concentrations in different window patterns can be a guidance to preventing high indoor PM2.5 and ozone exposure in student dormitories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle A System Based on the Internet of Things for Real-Time Particle Monitoring in Buildings
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040821
Received: 20 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3676 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Occupational health can be strongly influenced by the indoor environment as people spend 90% of their time indoors. Although indoor air quality (IAQ) is not typically monitored, IAQ parameters could be in many instances very different from those defined as healthy values. Particulate
[...] Read more.
Occupational health can be strongly influenced by the indoor environment as people spend 90% of their time indoors. Although indoor air quality (IAQ) is not typically monitored, IAQ parameters could be in many instances very different from those defined as healthy values. Particulate matter (PM), a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air, is considered the pollutant that affects more people. The most health-damaging particles are the ≤PM10 (diameter of 10 microns or less), which can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs, contributing to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as of lung cancer. This paper presents an Internet of Things (IoT) system for real-time PM monitoring named iDust. This system is based on a WEMOS D1 mini microcontroller and a PMS5003 PM sensor that incorporates scattering principle to measure the value of particles suspended in the air (PM10, PM2.5, and PM1.0). Through a Web dashboard for data visualization and remote notifications, the building manager can plan interventions for enhanced IAQ and ambient assisted living (AAL). Compared to other solutions the iDust is based on open-source technologies, providing a total Wi-Fi system, with several advantages such as its modularity, scalability, low cost, and easy installation. The results obtained are very promising, representing a meaningful tool on the contribution to IAQ and occupational health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Source Apportionment and Influencing Factor Analysis of Residential Indoor PM2.5 in Beijing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040686
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
PDF Full-text (413 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In order to identify the sources of indoor PM2.5 and to check which factors influence the concentration of indoor PM2.5 and chemical elements, indoor concentrations of PM2.5 and its related elements in residential houses in Beijing were explored. Indoor and
[...] Read more.
In order to identify the sources of indoor PM2.5 and to check which factors influence the concentration of indoor PM2.5 and chemical elements, indoor concentrations of PM2.5 and its related elements in residential houses in Beijing were explored. Indoor and outdoor PM2.5 samples that were monitored continuously for one week were collected. Indoor and outdoor concentrations of PM2.5 and 15 elements (Al, As, Ca, Cd, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Pb, Se, Tl, V, Zn) were calculated and compared. The median indoor concentration of PM2.5 was 57.64 μg/m3. For elements in indoor PM2.5, Cd and As may be sensitive to indoor smoking, Zn, Ca and Al may be related to indoor sources other than smoking, Pb, V and Se may mainly come from outdoor. Five factors were extracted for indoor PM2.5 by factor analysis, explained 76.8% of total variance, outdoor sources contributed more than indoor sources. Multiple linear regression analysis for indoor PM2.5, Cd and Pb was performed. Indoor PM2.5 was influenced by factors including outdoor PM2.5, smoking during sampling, outdoor temperature and time of air conditioner use. Indoor Cd was affected by factors including smoking during sampling, outdoor Cd and building age. Indoor Pb concentration was associated with factors including outdoor Pb and time of window open per day, building age and RH. In conclusion, indoor PM2.5 mainly comes from outdoor sources, and the contributions of indoor sources also cannot be ignored. Factors associated indoor and outdoor air exchange can influence the concentrations of indoor PM2.5 and its constituents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
Open AccessArticle Association between Four-Level Categorisation of Indoor Exposure and Perceived Indoor Air Quality
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 679; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040679
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 31 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to develop and test a tool for assessing urgency of indoor air quality (IAQ) measures. The condition of the 27 buildings were investigated and results were categorized. Statistical test studied the differences between the categories and the
[...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to develop and test a tool for assessing urgency of indoor air quality (IAQ) measures. The condition of the 27 buildings were investigated and results were categorized. Statistical test studied the differences between the categories and the employees’ complaints about their work environment. To study the employees’ experiences of the work premises, a validated indoor air (IA) questionnaire was used. This study reveals a multifaceted problem: many factors affecting IAQ may also affect perceived IAQ, making it difficult to separate the impurity sources and ventilation system deficiencies affecting to employee experiences. An examination of the relationship between the categories and perceived IAQ revealed an association between the mould odour perceived by employees and mould detected by the researcher. A weak link was also found between the assessed categories and environmental complaints. However, we cannot make far-reaching conclusions regarding the assessed probability of abnormal IA exposure in the building on the basis of employee experiences. According to the results, categorising tool can partly support the assessment of the urgency for repairs when several factors that affect IAQ are taken into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle Differences between Outdoor and Indoor Sound Levels for Open, Tilted, and Closed Windows
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010149
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (9759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Noise exposure prediction models for health effect studies normally estimate free field exposure levels outside. However, to assess the noise exposure inside dwellings, an estimate of indoor sound levels is necessary. To date, little field data is available about the difference between indoor
[...] Read more.
Noise exposure prediction models for health effect studies normally estimate free field exposure levels outside. However, to assess the noise exposure inside dwellings, an estimate of indoor sound levels is necessary. To date, little field data is available about the difference between indoor and outdoor noise levels and factors affecting the damping of outside noise. This is a major cause of uncertainty in indoor noise exposure prediction and may lead to exposure misclassification in health assessments. This study aims to determine sound level differences between the indoors and the outdoors for different window positions and how this sound damping is related to building characteristics. For this purpose, measurements were carried out at home in a sample of 102 Swiss residents exposed to road traffic noise. Sound pressure level recordings were performed outdoors and indoors, in the living room and in the bedroom. Three scenarios—of open, tilted, and closed windows—were recorded for three minutes each. For each situation, data on additional parameters such as the orientation towards the source, floor, and room, as well as sound insulation characteristics were collected. On that basis, linear regression models were established. The median outdoor–indoor sound level differences were of 10 dB(A) for open, 16 dB(A) for tilted, and 28 dB(A) for closed windows. For open and tilted windows, the most relevant parameters affecting the outdoor–indoor differences were the position of the window, the type and volume of the room, and the age of the building. For closed windows, the relevant parameters were the sound level outside, the material of the window frame, the existence of window gaskets, and the number of windows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Effecting the Total Volatile Organic Compound (TVOC) Concentrations in Slovak Households
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1443; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121443
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 16 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 23 November 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (9069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thirty five Slovak households were selected for an investigation of indoor environmental quality. Measuring of indoor air physical and chemical factors and a questionnaire survey was performed during May 2017. The range of permissible operative temperature was not met in 11% of objects.
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Thirty five Slovak households were selected for an investigation of indoor environmental quality. Measuring of indoor air physical and chemical factors and a questionnaire survey was performed during May 2017. The range of permissible operative temperature was not met in 11% of objects. Relative humidity met the legislative requirements in all monitored homes. Concentrations of total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) were significantly higher in the apartments than in the family houses. The average TVOC levels in the apartments and family houses were 519.7 µg/m3 and 330.2 µg/m3, respectively. Statistical analysis confirmed the effect of indoor air temperature, relative humidity and particulate matter (PM0.5 and PM1) on the levels of TVOCs. Higher TVOC levels were observed also in homes where it is not a common practice to open windows during cleaning activities. Other factors that had a statistically significant effect on concentrations of volatile organic compounds were heating type, attached garage, location of the apartment within residential building (the floor), as well as number of occupants. Higher TVOC concentrations were observed in indoor than outdoor environment, while further analysis showed the significant impact of indoor emission sources on the level of these compounds in buildings. The questionnaire study showed a discrepancy between objective measurement and subjective assessment in the household environment, and pointed to insufficient public awareness about volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle Comfort, Energy Efficiency and Adoption of Personal Cooling Systems in Warm Environments: A Field Experimental Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14111408
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 11 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3538 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is well known that personal cooling improves thermal comfort and save energy. This study aims to: (1) compare different personal cooling systems and (2) understand what influences users’ willingness to adopt them. A series of experiments on several types of personal cooling
[...] Read more.
It is well known that personal cooling improves thermal comfort and save energy. This study aims to: (1) compare different personal cooling systems and (2) understand what influences users’ willingness to adopt them. A series of experiments on several types of personal cooling systems, which included physical measurements, questionnaires and feedback, was conducted in a real office environment. The obtained results showed that personal cooling improved comfort of participants in warm environments. Then an improved index was proposed and used to compare different types of personal cooling systems in terms of comfort and energy efficiency simultaneously. According to the improved index, desk fans were highly energy-efficient, while the hybrid personal cooling (the combination of radiant cooling desk and desk fan) consumed more energy but showed advantages of extending the comfortable temperature range. Moreover, if personal cooling was free, most participants were willing to adopt it and the effectiveness was the main factor influencing their willingness, whereas if participants had to pay, they probably refused to adopt it due to the cost and the availability of conventional air conditioners. Thus, providing effective and free personal cooling systems should be regarded as a better way for its wider application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Open AccessArticle Using Upper Extremity Skin Temperatures to Assess Thermal Comfort in Office Buildings in Changsha, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14101092
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 21 September 2017
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Abstract
Existing thermal comfort field studies are mainly focused on the relationship between the indoor physical environment and the thermal comfort. In numerous chamber experiments, physiological parameters were adopted to assess thermal comfort, but the experiments’ conclusions may not represent a realistic thermal environment
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Existing thermal comfort field studies are mainly focused on the relationship between the indoor physical environment and the thermal comfort. In numerous chamber experiments, physiological parameters were adopted to assess thermal comfort, but the experiments’ conclusions may not represent a realistic thermal environment due to the highly controlled thermal environment and few occupants. This paper focuses on determining the relationships between upper extremity skin temperatures (i.e., finger, wrist, hand and forearm) and the indoor thermal comfort. Also, the applicability of predicting thermal comfort by using upper extremity skin temperatures was explored. Field studies were performed in office buildings equipped with split air-conditioning (SAC) located in the hot summer and cold winter (HSCW) climate zone of China during the summer of 2016. Psychological responses of occupants were recorded and physical and physiological factors were measured simultaneously. Standard effective temperature (SET*) was used to incorporate the effect of humidity and air velocity on thermal comfort. The results indicate that upper extremity skin temperatures are good indicators for predicting thermal sensation, and could be used to assess the thermal comfort in terms of physiological mechanism. In addition, the neutral temperature was 24.7 °C and the upper limit for 80% acceptability was 28.2 °C in SET*. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Integrated Management of Residential Indoor Air Quality: A Call for Stakeholders in a Changing Climate
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1455; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121455
Received: 26 October 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 25 November 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (338 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A paradigm change in the management of environmental health issues has been observed in recent years: instead of managing specific risks individually, a holistic vision of environmental problems would assure sustainable solutions. However, concrete actions that could help translate these recommendations into interventions
[...] Read more.
A paradigm change in the management of environmental health issues has been observed in recent years: instead of managing specific risks individually, a holistic vision of environmental problems would assure sustainable solutions. However, concrete actions that could help translate these recommendations into interventions are lacking. This review presents the relevance of using an integrated indoor air quality management approach to ensure occupant health and comfort. At the nexus of three basic concepts (reducing contaminants at the source, improving ventilation, and, when relevant, purifying the indoor air), this approach can help maintain and improve indoor air quality and limit exposure to several contaminants. Its application is particularly relevant in a climate change context since the evolving outdoor conditions have to be taken into account during building construction and renovation. The measures presented through this approach target public health players, building managers, owners, occupants, and professionals involved in building design, construction, renovation, and maintenance. The findings of this review will help the various stakeholders initiate a strategic reflection on the importance of indoor air quality and climate change issues for existing and future buildings. Several new avenues and recommendations are presented to set the path for future research activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality)
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