Special Issue "Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dusan Licina
Website
Guest Editor
School for Architecture, Civil, and Environmental Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Interests: Indoor air quality, Human exposure, Ventilation and control, Building IoT sensing, Human thermal comfort, Green buildings
Dr. Jose Guillermo Cedeno Laurent
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Interests: indoor environmental quality and health; the built environment and sleep quality; environmental sensor networks

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the inception of the first green certification scheme several decades ago, expectations for high performance buildings have been evolving. To date, there are more than 200 different green building certification programs around the globe, with estimates of at least 1 million certified projects. While the green building industry has a long-standing history of attention to human health (e.g., tobacco control, toxic exposure), there has been a recent shift in the prioritization of this issue relative to others, with a new emphasis on features that explicitly promote the human experience of building occupants.

In recognition of this emphasis shift, the open-access journal Atmosphere is hosting a Special Issue to showcase the most recent findings related to air quality in green buildings, low-emission materials, advanced ventilation systems and air quality management strageties, IoT sensor technology, occupant exposure and satisfaction. With the recent expansion of research showing that buildings can do more to support human performance and experience, this Special Issue is also an appropriate venue for papers that deal with human thermal comfort and productivity. Ultimately, this Special Issue aims to showcase the most recent comparable evidence on the impact of indoor air quality inverventions on people and organizations.

Original results from field and controlled investigations, subjective surveys, models and review papers related to green buildings and indoor air quality are all welcome contributions. Authors are encouraged to include a section touching on future issues, opportunities, and/or concerns related to their topics, on the 5-, 10-, and 20-year horizons.

Dr. Dusan Licina
Dr. Jose Guillermo Cedeno Laurent
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. Atmosphere 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 1800 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

  • Green buildings
  • Indoor VOC
  • Indoor aerosols
  • Ventilation
  • Exposure
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Health
  • Satisfaction
  • Occupant surveys

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue Editorial: Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality
Atmosphere 2020, 11(5), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11050441 - 27 Apr 2020
Abstract
Since the inception of the first green certification scheme several decades ago, expectations for high-performance buildings have been evolving [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Greener and Leaner: Lower Energy and Water Consumption, and Reduced Work Orders, in Newly Constructed Boston Public Housing
Atmosphere 2020, 11(4), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11040329 - 28 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Boston Residential Investigation on Green and Healthy Transitions (BRIGHT) Study is focused on quantifying the effects of redeveloping public housing developments into new buildings with improved energy performance and indoor environmental quality. This report presents an analysis of utility consumption and work [...] Read more.
The Boston Residential Investigation on Green and Healthy Transitions (BRIGHT) Study is focused on quantifying the effects of redeveloping public housing developments into new buildings with improved energy performance and indoor environmental quality. This report presents an analysis of utility consumption and work order requests at Old Colony and Washington-Beech, two redeveloped housing sites in Boston, Massachusetts. We compare the consumption of electricity, natural gas, and water, as well as work order data, from 2012–2014 to development-wide baseline data from 2006–2009. We found that despite the higher number of electric appliances in the new apartments (e.g., air conditioning and ranges), electricity consumption decreased 46% in Old Colony and nearly 30% in Washington-Beech when compared to the baseline data. Natural gas used for space heating decreased by more than 70% at both sites; and water use decreased by nearly 56% at Old Colony and nearly 30% at Washington-Beech. Work order categories that directly influence the residents’ quality of life, such as pests, mold, windows and plumbing decreased by more than 50% in both renovated sites. In combination with previous documentation of health improvements in the redeveloped sites, these results provide further evidence of the magnitude of benefits from updating public housing infrastructure using green design principles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Low Polluting Building Materials and Ventilation for Good Air Quality in Residential Buildings: A Cost–Benefit Study
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010102 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Nowadays, people spend an average of 87% of their time inside buildings, and about 69% at home. Hence, it is essential to ensure the highest possible level of indoor air quality (IAQ). Providing that the quality of the outdoor air is acceptable, the [...] Read more.
Nowadays, people spend an average of 87% of their time inside buildings, and about 69% at home. Hence, it is essential to ensure the highest possible level of indoor air quality (IAQ). Providing that the quality of the outdoor air is acceptable, the IAQ level is improved by increasing the ventilation rates. However, this means that a larger volume of air must be cooled down or warmed up to ensure the same level of thermal comfort. The aim of this study was to conduct a cost–benefit analysis of the IAQ in residential buildings. A case-study building was defined, and three sets of materials with different pollution emission levels were chosen: High, low, and very low. For each option, the ventilation rates required to have the same IAQ level were calculated, and the consequent energy consumption and costs were estimated by means of dynamic thermal simulation. The results show the range of the initial capital cost that could be compensated for by lower running costs, and the effect of each energy and economic input assumption on the appraisal of the affordable capital cost. In the discussion, insights into the IAQ co-benefits are also given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
IEQ Field Investigation in High-Performance, Urban Elementary Schools
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010081 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
School buildings are one of the most commonly occupied building types for children, second only to their homes. Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is an ongoing issue in schools, especially in urban environments where students are exposed to higher levels of outdoor pollutants. To [...] Read more.
School buildings are one of the most commonly occupied building types for children, second only to their homes. Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is an ongoing issue in schools, especially in urban environments where students are exposed to higher levels of outdoor pollutants. To examine this issue, five elementary school buildings located in a major city on the East Coast of the United States were selected for one-week of quantitative IEQ measurements, with a satisfaction survey collected from teachers at the selected schools. The schools included three high-performance schools, one recently renovated school, and one conventional school. Despite building designers and operators following the recommendations of current high-performance design standards, the three high-performance school buildings did not have measurably better IEQ than the renovated and conventional school buildings, nor were they perceived as better based on the satisfaction survey. This indicates that current high-performance design standards may not place enough emphasis on reducing health-related pollutants in urban schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
An Assessment of the Suitability of Active Green Walls for NO2 Reduction in Green Buildings Using a Closed-Loop Flow Reactor
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120801 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a common urban air pollutant that is associated with several adverse human health effects from both short and long term exposure. Additionally, NO2 is highly reactive and can influence the mixing ratios of nitrogen oxide (NO) [...] Read more.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a common urban air pollutant that is associated with several adverse human health effects from both short and long term exposure. Additionally, NO2 is highly reactive and can influence the mixing ratios of nitrogen oxide (NO) and ozone (O3). Active green walls can filter numerous air pollutants whilst using little energy, and are thus a candidate for inclusion in green buildings, however, the remediation of NO2 by active green walls remains untested. This work assessed the capacity of replicate active green walls to filter NO2 at both ambient and elevated concentrations within a closed-loop flow reactor, while the concentrations of NO and O3 were simultaneously monitored. Comparisons of each pollutant’s decay rate were made for green walls containing two plant species (Spathiphyllum wallisii and Syngonium podophyllum) and two lighting conditions (indoor and ultraviolet). Biofilter treatments for both plant species exhibited exponential decay for the biofiltration of all three pollutants at ambient concentrations. Furthermore, both treatments removed elevated concentrations of NO and NO2, (average NO2 clean air delivery rate of 661.32 and 550.8 m3∙h−1∙m−3 of biofilter substrate for the respective plant species), although plant species and lighting conditions influenced the degree of NOx removal. Elevated concentrations of NOx compromised the removal efficiency of O3. Whilst the current work provided evidence that effective filtration of NOx is possible with green wall technology, long-term experiments under in situ conditions are needed to establish practical removal rates and plant health effects from prolonged exposure to air pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Radon Investigation in 650 Energy Efficient Dwellings in Western Switzerland: Impact of Energy Renovation and Building Characteristics
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 777; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120777 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
As part of more stringent energy targets in Switzerland, we witness the appearance of new green-certified dwellings while many existing dwellings have undergone energy efficiency measures. These measures have led to reduced energy consumption, but rarely consider their impact on indoor air quality. [...] Read more.
As part of more stringent energy targets in Switzerland, we witness the appearance of new green-certified dwellings while many existing dwellings have undergone energy efficiency measures. These measures have led to reduced energy consumption, but rarely consider their impact on indoor air quality. Consequently, such energy renovation actions can lead to an accumulation of radon in dwellings located in radon-prone areas at doses that can affect human health. This study compared the radon levels over 650 energy-efficient dwellings in western Switzerland between green-certified (Minergie) and energy-renovated dwellings, and analyzed the building characteristics responsible of this accumulation. We found that the newly green-certified dwellings had significantly lower radon level than energy-renovated, which were green- and non-green-certified houses (geometric mean 52, 87, and 105 Bq/m3, respectively). The new dwellings with integrated mechanical ventilation exhibited lower radon concentrations. Thermal retrofitting of windows, roofs, exterior walls, and floors were associated with a higher radon level. Compared to radon measurements prior to energy renovation, we found a 20% increase in radon levels. The results highlight the need to consider indoor air quality when addressing energy savings to avoid compromising occupants’ health, and are useful for enhancing the ventilation design and energy renovation procedures in dwellings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of the Airflow in a Solar Passive Building on the Indoor Air Quality and Thermal Comfort Levels
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120766 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The influence of the airflow in a solar passive building on the indoor air quality and thermal comfort levels was investigated. The numerical study for a university library was conducted using a software that simulates the building thermal behavior with complex topology, in [...] Read more.
The influence of the airflow in a solar passive building on the indoor air quality and thermal comfort levels was investigated. The numerical study for a university library was conducted using a software that simulates the building thermal behavior with complex topology, in transient conditions, for evaluating the indoor air quality and occupants’ thermal comfort levels for typical summer and winter days. Solar radiation was used as a renewable energy source to increase simultaneously the thermal comfort and air quality levels and reduce building energy consumption. Regarding the solar passive building, consideration was given to all of the building structure envelope, shading devices and interior details, while in the solar active building active ventilation was used. To analyze the airflow that simultaneously provides the best indoor air quality and thermal comfort levels, a new integral methodology based on the minimization of the total number of uncomfortable hours was used. The results show that it was possible to determine an air change rate that ensures a good compromise between thermal comfort and indoor air quality. An optimal air change rate of two and three renewals per hour had been determined, respectively, for winter and summer conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Near Real-Time Monitoring of Formaldehyde in a Low-Energy School Building
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120763 - 30 Nov 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The emergence of new super-insulated buildings to reduce energy consumption places the quality of indoor air at the center of the debate. Among the indoor air pollutants, aldehydes are often present, and formaldehyde is of major interest regarding its multiple sources and its [...] Read more.
The emergence of new super-insulated buildings to reduce energy consumption places the quality of indoor air at the center of the debate. Among the indoor air pollutants, aldehydes are often present, and formaldehyde is of major interest regarding its multiple sources and its health impact. Therefore, French regulations expect to reduce formaldehyde concentrations below 10 μg m−3 in public buildings by 2023. Formaldehyde and other aldehydes were measured for two weeks during an intensive field campaign conducted in a school recently built and equipped with programmable dual-flow ventilation. Aldehydes were monitored with the ISO 16000-3 reference method based on sampling with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) tubes while formaldehyde concentration was continuously measured by using a sensitive near real-time formaldehyde microanalyzer with a detection limit of 1 µg m−3. Formaldehyde was the major aldehyde. Its concentrations varied in the range of 2–25 µg m−3 and decreased by half when mechanical ventilation was ON, while the other ones were always below 5 µg m−3. In addition, an excellent agreement was observed between the different analytical techniques deployed to quantify formaldehyde levels. The microanalyzer was able to measure fast variations of formaldehyde concentration in the studied room, according to the building's ventilation periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Buildings and Indoor Air Quality)
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