Special Issue "Emerging Methodologies and Technologies for Assessing the Impact of Air Quality and Thermal, Visual, and Acoustic Comfort on Indoor Environmental Quality"

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Building Energy, Physics, Environment, and Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Francesco Leccese
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Constructions Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Pisa, Largo Lucio Lazzarino, 56122 Pisa, Italy
Interests: energy performance of buildings; daylighting; room acoustics; optical radiations exposure; noise exposure
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Giacomo Salvadori
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Building Services Laboratory, Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Construction Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Pisa, Largo Lucio Lazzarino, 56122 Pisa, Italy
Interests: building physics; indoor environmental quality; energy performance of lighting systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is increasing in importance in the design of contemporary buildings, particularly in low-energy buildings and smart and intelligent buildings. Indeed, IEQ is able to impact on the well-being, productivity, and health and safety of building occupants. The concept of IEQ is very broad and depends on many aspects, among which air quality and thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort are undoubtedly recognized as significant. Although the methodologies and techniques for separately assessing the different aspects are well known, to date there are no standardized methodologies and techniques for global IEQ assessment. In this context, it seems appropriate to move forward the knowledge, sharing studies that deal, in particular, with the evaluation of the combined effects of multiple factors on the IEQ. We would like to give the different groups working in these research fields the opportunity to publish their latest research in a Special Issue focused on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Indoor environmental quality and the well-being of occupants;
  • Comfort conditions of occupants in built environments;
  • Subjective and objective surveys for assessing IEQ ;
  • Comfort control strategies and building energy uses;
  • Dynamic building simulations and behavior modeling of occupants;
  • Environmental monitoring: data collection and analysis.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Leccese
Prof. Dr. Giacomo Salvadori
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. Buildings 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

  • indoor environmental quality
  • indoor air quality
  • thermal comfort
  • visual comfort
  • acoustic comfort
  • control systems
  • energy efficiency
  • occupant behavior
  • building simulations
  • environmental monitoring

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Prediction of the Impact of Air Speed Produced by a Mechanical Fan and Operative Temperature on the Thermal Sensation
Buildings 2022, 12(2), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12020101 - 21 Jan 2022
Viewed by 188
Abstract
Natural ventilation associated with a mechanical fan is a feasible strategy to enhance thermal acceptability in warm weather. The ASHRAE-55 provides the increase for operative temperature proportional to the increase in air speed while maintaining thermal comfort. Conversely, the range of informed values [...] Read more.
Natural ventilation associated with a mechanical fan is a feasible strategy to enhance thermal acceptability in warm weather. The ASHRAE-55 provides the increase for operative temperature proportional to the increase in air speed while maintaining thermal comfort. Conversely, the range of informed values is limited and little guidance for mechanical fans is provided. This work explores the relationship between operative temperature and air speed produced by ceiling fans, and the effectiveness to deliver thermal comfort for a wider range of values. The research method comprises transient computer fluid dynamics simulations coupled with a thermal sensation model and is divided into two stages: a calibration exercise and a parametrical investigation. Three matrices are presented for a range of operative temperatures (21.0–36.0 °C) and air speeds (0–2.5 m/s) for: Dynamic Thermal Sensation (DTS) (a computer-based seven-point index), Predicted Percentage of Dissatisfied, and potential Cooling Effect. When compared to the Predicted Mean Vote, the DTS overestimates thermal comfort for temperatures under 28.0 °C with increased air speed and overestimates discomfort for temperatures above 31.0 °C, even with increased air speed. Agreement is found between both scales for 28.0–31.0 °C, defining a range for the effective use of ceiling fans to provide thermal comfort under warm weather conditions. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Photopic and Melanopic Lighting in Teaching Environments
Buildings 2021, 11(10), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11100439 - 27 Sep 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
Daylight and lighting seem to be a key tool for people’s well-being, however, there are no specific and agreed recommendations that address both photopic and melanopic aspects in educational environments. The present work analyzed melanopic light in four teaching environments considering photopic indoor [...] Read more.
Daylight and lighting seem to be a key tool for people’s well-being, however, there are no specific and agreed recommendations that address both photopic and melanopic aspects in educational environments. The present work analyzed melanopic light in four teaching environments considering photopic indoor lighting, daylight depending on the window orientation, location of the observer in the room, and their line of view. The façade direction, daylight at 11.00 a.m. for six months from October to March, and the characteristics of each classroom, such as reflectance of the surfaces, location of the luminaires and their spectral and spatial power distributions, or calculation points affecting the melanopic light reaching the corneal vertical plane of a hypothetical control observer were studied. For this evaluation, classrooms were experimentally treated and simulated using DialuxEvo software, and the computer-generated values resembled the experimental values. Once the study was performed, an improvement proposal, based on LED lighting, was made to optimize the classroom lighting considering the melanopic requirements, which we ensured that users who passed through these classrooms had an adequate amount light at any time of the day. Our results simplify to the greatest lighting projects and enable designers to carry out optimized evaluations of specific environments from both the photometric and circadian perspectives. Full article
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Article
Evaluating the Indoor Air Quality after Renovation at the Greens in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Buildings 2021, 11(8), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11080353 - 15 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 693
Abstract
The Public Health and Safety Department of Dubai Municipality had evaluated the indoor air quality in public buildings in 2013, then established the IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) regulation. Even though IAQ in public building is in control, indoor air pollution in new and [...] Read more.
The Public Health and Safety Department of Dubai Municipality had evaluated the indoor air quality in public buildings in 2013, then established the IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) regulation. Even though IAQ in public building is in control, indoor air pollution in new and renovated housing is still very problematic. The objective of this paper is to measure the indoor air quality of the residential unit in an apartment after renovation to evaluate the actual condition and to analyze the influential factors. As a methodology, field measurements, resident interviews, and observations were conducted for 20 residential units to investigate basic information, renovation contents, ventilation characteristics, and SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) symptoms. The results showed that renovation related to the indoor air quality was the replacement of finishing materials. It was statistically proven that the average CO2 for each house was 683–2309.4 ppm, and 15 houses exceeded the WHO IAQ standards. TVOC had an average concentration of 0–3.0 ppm per house, exceeding the standard in 10 houses. Formaldehyde (CH2O) had an average concentration of 0–1.02 ppm per house, exceeding the WHO IAQ standard (0.1 ppm) in 12 houses. However, even though the indoor air quality was polluted, the residents were hardly aware of it based on subjective response survey. As the amount of renovation increases, the concentration of formaldehyde (CH2O) increases significantly, and excessive renovation should be avoided. This study will serve as a basic dataset to suggest that the new IAQ regulation not be compulsory for residents; rather, they must induce contractors with stipulation to maintain IAQ during and after renovation. Full article
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Article
Thermal Comfort and Sleep Quality of Indonesian Students Living in Japan during Summer and Winter
Buildings 2021, 11(8), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11080326 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
Thermal comfort is crucial in satisfaction and maintaining quality sleep for occupants. In this study, we investigated the comfort temperature in the bedroom at night and sleep quality for Indonesian students during summer and winter. Eighteen male Indonesian students aged 29 ± 4 [...] Read more.
Thermal comfort is crucial in satisfaction and maintaining quality sleep for occupants. In this study, we investigated the comfort temperature in the bedroom at night and sleep quality for Indonesian students during summer and winter. Eighteen male Indonesian students aged 29 ± 4 years participated in this study. The participants had stayed in Japan for about six months. We evaluated the sleep parameters using actigraphy performed during summer and winter. All participants completed the survey regarding thermal sensation, physical conditions, and subjective sleepiness before sleep. The temperature and relative humidity of participants’ bedrooms were also measured. We found that the duration on the bed during winter was significantly longer than that during summer. However, sleeping efficiency during winter was significantly worse than that during summer. The bedroom temperature of the participants was in the range of comfort temperature in Indonesia. With the average bedroom air temperature of 22.2 °C, most of the participants still preferred “warm” and felt “slightly comfortable” during winter. The average comfort temperature each season calculated using the Griffiths method was 28.1 °C during summer and 23.5 °C during winter. In conclusion, differences in adaptive action affect bedroom thermal conditions. Furthermore, habits encourage the sleep performance of Indonesian students. Full article
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Article
Improving the IAQ for Learning Efficiency with Indoor Plants in University Classrooms in Ajman, United Arab Emirates
Buildings 2021, 11(7), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11070289 - 04 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
The objective of this paper is to investigate the effect of improving indoor air quality with indoor plants. As a methodology, two target classrooms with the same size (120.64 m2) and 32 students per room were selected. Then, 48 areca palm [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper is to investigate the effect of improving indoor air quality with indoor plants. As a methodology, two target classrooms with the same size (120.64 m2) and 32 students per room were selected. Then, 48 areca palm pots (average leaf area of 300 cm2/pot) were placed, and the plant density was 14.68% of the floor area. Subjective assessment for general questions, learning motivation, perceived air quality, and SBS symptoms was conducted at 5 min after the class started and 5 min before the class ended. The results showed that the CO2 concentration by respiration of the students (average of 1873 ppm) exceeded the regulatory standard (1000 ppm), but the students did not recognize the indoor CO2 concentration. The increase in CO2 concentration in the classroom was lower in the case with plant placement (624 ppm) compared with the case without plant placement (about 1205 ppm). It was statistically proven that the CO2 concentration by respiration could be reduced by 50% if the indoor plant leaf area density were maintained at about 14.68% of the floor area. In the case with plant placement, the students perceived the indoor air quality to be 40% fresher and showed a 140% higher acceptability. Moreover, the complaining of SBS symptoms was improved by 108%, and the students’ perception that it was better to focus on learning increased by about 120%. As the awareness of sustainability increases, indoor plants will be more actively placed in the United Arab Emirates. Indoor plants not only provide a visual green effect to improve human comfort but also purify indoor air pollutants. Full article
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Article
The Improvement of Indoor Air Quality in Residential Buildings in Dubai, UAE
Buildings 2021, 11(6), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11060250 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1119
Abstract
Due to unprecedented urbanization, UAE had built many new residential projects with poor choices of material and ventilation. This social phenomenon is leading UAE to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) faster than any other countries. The Dubai Municipality regulates the indoor air quality with [...] Read more.
Due to unprecedented urbanization, UAE had built many new residential projects with poor choices of material and ventilation. This social phenomenon is leading UAE to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) faster than any other countries. The Dubai Municipality regulates the indoor air quality with strict stipulation, but the detailed regulations are still insufficient. The objective of this paper is to measure the indoor air quality of new residential projects in Dubai to suggest the improvement of the regulations for indoor air quality. As a methodology, a field survey was conducted to investigate the status of indoor air pollution in residential buildings. Based on the field survey data, lab experiments for building materials were conducted and a computer simulation on radon gas was conducted. The result had shown that radon gas was mainly detected in new townhouses and labor camp houses, and its concentration was found to exceed the standard. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde (CH2O) were mainly detected in showhouses and new townhouses, and the concentration distribution was about 10 times higher than that of outdoors. It was proven that emission concentration of radon gas from various building materials were detected, and the order was red clay, gypsum board, and concrete. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are mainly detected in oil paints and PVC floor and the radiation amount of all pollutants increased with temperature increase. In computer simulation, it was found that a new townhouse needs a grace period from 20 days to 6 months to lower the radon gas concentration by 2 pCi/L. This study will serve as a basic data to establish more detailed regulation for the building materials and improve the IAQ standards in Dubai. Full article
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Article
Factors Affecting Occupants’ Satisfaction in Governmental Buildings: The Case of the Kingdom of Bahrain
Buildings 2021, 11(6), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11060231 - 29 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Satisfaction is a very important factor in improving productivity and performance in the work environment. This study aims to investigate the levels of occupants’ satisfaction with the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in the governmental buildings in the Kingdom of Bahrain and to investigate [...] Read more.
Satisfaction is a very important factor in improving productivity and performance in the work environment. This study aims to investigate the levels of occupants’ satisfaction with the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in the governmental buildings in the Kingdom of Bahrain and to investigate the impact of occupants’ demographics and building attributes (non-IEQ factors) on these levels. For these purposes, the study used a questionnaire that has 17 indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors in addition to a group of non-IEQ factors. The questionnaire was distributed by hand or using email to 279 employees in the Bahraini governmental sector. The findings of the study revealed that occupants in the Bahraini governmental buildings are not strongly satisfied with IEQ factors, especially with sound privacy, followed by visual privacy and amount of space, and then noise levels. The findings also showed that for most IEQ factors, men are more satisfied than women are, those who work in enclosed private offices are more satisfied than those who work in open-plan offices, and those who have central air-conditioning at their workplace are more than those who have a wall-mounted air conditioner. The impact of age, nature of work, duration of working in the current building and at the current workstation, weekly working hours, and proximity to the window were also investigated. Accordingly, a group of recommendations was suggested aiming to improve the levels of occupants’ satisfaction. Full article
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