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Special Issue "Sustainable Building and Sustainable Indoor Environment"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 7350

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Alireza Afshari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of the Built Environment, Division of Sustainability, Energy and Indoor Environment, Aalborg University, 2450 Copenhagen, Denmark
Interests: construction; indoor climate; ventilation; particles; demand controlled ventilation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Jinhan Mo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Building Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Interests: air cleaning; indoor air quality; catalytic oxidation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Matthew Johnson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 5, DK2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Interests: air cleaning; ventilation; indoor air quality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

People spend most of their time indoors. Therefore, indoor air quality is an important public health issue, as people are exposed to pollutants there, including gases and particles, which come from outdoors to the inside of a building. Pollutants may also be generated indoors by cooking, candle burning, emissions from building material, etc. There is an increasing range of adverse health effects linked to air pollution, at an even lower concentration of pollutants. Increased ventilation is commonly discussed by researchers as a solution for reducing particle concentration in the indoor air. Recirculation of air through portable air cleaners has also been discussed. A large variety of air filtration technologies are commercially available for removing air pollutants. Different technologies are based on different air filtration mechanisms and are able to remove different pollutants.

The scope and purpose of this Special Issue is to collect research data in order to clarify possibilities, applications, and limitations of using recirculated air in combination with new air cleaning technologies in order to improve indoor air quality. The objective is to clarify the effectiveness of portable air cleaners and to investigate the approaches of using these devices, aiming at reducing the concentration of particles and gases in the indoor environment.

Prof. Alireza Afshari
Prof. Dr. Jinhan Mo
Prof. Dr. Matthew Johnson
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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

  • air cleaning
  • indoor air quality
  • ventilation
  • particles
  • gases

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Correlation of Respiratory Aerosols and Metabolic Carbon Dioxide
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12203; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112203 - 05 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 771
Abstract
Respiratory aerosols from breathing and talking are an important transmission route for viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Previous studies have found that particles with diameters ranging from 10 nm to 145 μm are produced from different regions in the [...] Read more.
Respiratory aerosols from breathing and talking are an important transmission route for viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Previous studies have found that particles with diameters ranging from 10 nm to 145 μm are produced from different regions in the respiratory system and especially smaller particles can remain airborne for long periods while carrying viral RNA. We present the first study in which respiratory aerosols have been simultaneously measured with carbon dioxide (CO2) to establish the correlation between the two concentrations. CO2 concentrations are easily available through low-cost sensors and could be used to estimate viral exposure through this correlation, whereas source-specific aerosol measurements are complicated and not possible with low-cost sensors. The increase in both respiratory aerosols and CO2 was linear over ten minutes in a 2 m3 chamber for all participants, suggesting a strong correlation. On average, talking released more particles than breathing, with 14,600 ± 16,800 min−1 (one-σ standard deviation) and 6210 ± 5630 min−1 on average, respectively, while CO2 increased with 139 ± 33 ppm min−1 during talking and 143 ± 29 ppm min−1 during breathing. Assuming a typical viral load of 7×106 RNA copies per mL of oral fluid, ten minutes of talking and breathing are estimated to produce 1 and 16 suspended RNA copies, respectively, correlating to a CO2 concentration of around 1800 ppm in a 2 m3 chamber. However, viral loads can vary by several orders of magnitude depending on the stage of the disease and the individual. It was therefore concluded that, by measuring CO2 concentrations, only the number and volume concentrations of released particles can be estimated with reasonable certainty, while the number of suspended RNA copies cannot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building and Sustainable Indoor Environment)
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Article
Electrospun Nanofibre Air Filters for Particles and Gaseous Pollutants
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6553; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126553 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1041
Abstract
Nanofibre filters may offer new properties not available in commercial fibre filters. These include a higher surface area and the ability to include novel materials within the fibres. In addition the small size allows potential gains in performance due to the slip-flow phenomenon [...] Read more.
Nanofibre filters may offer new properties not available in commercial fibre filters. These include a higher surface area and the ability to include novel materials within the fibres. In addition the small size allows potential gains in performance due to the slip-flow phenomenon in which normal gas viscosity does not apply to objects smaller than the mean free path of the gas. We tested the properties of novel electrospun fibre filters generated from polyvinyl alcohol solutions, optionally embedded with nano-grains of photocatalytic TiO2 and activated charcoal. The tested materials exhibited pressure drops in the range of 195 Pa to 2693 Pa for a face velocity of 5.3 cm/s and a removal efficiency greater than 97% for 12–480 nm particles. Basis weights for the filters ranged from 16.6 to 67.6 g/m2 and specific surface areas ranged from 1.4 to 17.4 m2/g. Reactivity towards volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was achieved by irradiating the photocatalytic filters with ultraviolet light. It is necessary to solve the problems connected to the absorbance of VOCs and further reduce the resistance to airflow in order for these filters to achieve widespread use. The incorporation of reactive air filtration into building ventilation systems will contribute to improved indoor air quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building and Sustainable Indoor Environment)
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Article
Formation of Formaldehyde and Other Byproducts by TiO2 Photocatalyst Materials
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4821; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094821 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1050
Abstract
Photocatalysts promised to control pollution in an environmentally benign manner, inexpensively, and with a low or cheap energy input. However, the limited chemical activity of photocatalysts has prevented their widespread use. This limitation has two important consequences; in addition to limited removal efficiency [...] Read more.
Photocatalysts promised to control pollution in an environmentally benign manner, inexpensively, and with a low or cheap energy input. However, the limited chemical activity of photocatalysts has prevented their widespread use. This limitation has two important consequences; in addition to limited removal efficiency for pollution, photocatalysts may also generate unwanted byproducts due to incomplete reaction. This study focuses on the byproducts formed in the photocatalytic degradation of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) on titanium dioxide (TiO2), using a continuous flow reactor and detection via proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry. TiO2, activated carbon (AC), TiO2/AC (1:1) and TiO2/AC (1:5) were tested using either a laser-driven light source or LED lamps at 365 nm. The samples were characterized using a N2-BET surface area and pore size distributions, Scanning Electron Microscopy, X-ray Diffraction, and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, which confirmed that TiO2 was successfully coated on activated carbon without unexpected phases. TiO2 and activated carbon showed different removal mechanisms for DMS. The maximum yield of formaldehyde, 11.4%, was observed for DMS reacting on a TiO2/AC (1:5) composite operating at a DMS removal efficiency of 31.7% at 50 C. In addition to formaldehdye, significant products included acetone and dimethyl disulfide. In all, observed byproducts accounted for over half of the DMS material removed from the airstream. The TiO2/AC (1:5) and TiO2/AC (1:1) composites have a lower removal efficiency than TiO2, but a higher yield of byproducts. Experiments conducted from 20 C to 70 C showed that as temperature increases, the removal efficiency decreases and the production of byproducts increases even more. This is attributed both to decreased surface activity at high temperatures due to increased recombination of reactive species, and to the decreased residence time of volatile compounds on a hot surface. This study shows that potentially dangerous byproducts are formed by photocatalytic reactors because the reaction is incomplete under the conditions generally employed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building and Sustainable Indoor Environment)
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Article
Sensitivity Analysis of Envelope Design Parameters of Industrial Buildings with Natural Ventilation
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410288 - 09 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 621
Abstract
It is beneficial for designers to identify the most important design parameters of building envelopes. This study undertook sensitivity analysis integrated with EnergyPlus to assess the impacts of envelope design parameters for naturally ventilated industrial buildings. Sensitivity coefficients of six envelope design parameters [...] Read more.
It is beneficial for designers to identify the most important design parameters of building envelopes. This study undertook sensitivity analysis integrated with EnergyPlus to assess the impacts of envelope design parameters for naturally ventilated industrial buildings. Sensitivity coefficients of six envelope design parameters for different internal heat intensities were analyzed and compared for buildings in the city of Xi’an, located in the cold climate zone of China. Our results showed that the heat transfer coefficient of the roofs had the most significant impact on indoor temperature. The weights were 32.29%, 33.71% and 30.71%, and the heat intensities were 5, 10 and 15 W/m3, respectively. The effect of the skylight-to-roof ratio was the second most sensitive. The impact of the solar absorptances of the walls and roof on the total number of hours was not sensitive. The results could be helpful for designers to efficiently form alternative design solutions in the design of new and retrofitting industrial buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building and Sustainable Indoor Environment)
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Review

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Review
Electrostatic Precipitators as an Indoor Air Cleaner—A Literature Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8774; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218774 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2831
Abstract
Many people spend most of their time in an indoor environment. A positive relationship exists between indoor environmental quality and the health, wellbeing, and productivity of occupants in buildings. The indoor environment is affected by pollutants, such as gases and particles. Pollutants can [...] Read more.
Many people spend most of their time in an indoor environment. A positive relationship exists between indoor environmental quality and the health, wellbeing, and productivity of occupants in buildings. The indoor environment is affected by pollutants, such as gases and particles. Pollutants can be removed from the indoor environment in various ways. Air-cleaning devices are commonly marketed as benefiting the removal of air pollutants and, consequently, improving indoor air quality. Depending on the type of cleaning technology, air cleaners may generate undesired and toxic byproducts. Different air filtration technologies, such as electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) have been introduced to the market. The ESP has been used in buildings because it can remove particles while only causing low pressure drops. Moreover, ESPs can be either in-duct or standalone units. This review aims to provide an overview of ESP use, methods for testing this product, the performance of existing ESPs concerning removing pollutants and their byproducts, and the existing market for ESPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building and Sustainable Indoor Environment)
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