UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


IEDE research on air quality for home workers published in CIBSE journal

3 December 2020

Dr Farhang Tahmasebi and Prof Jian Kang from UCL IEDE published an article in CIBSE Journal December issue reporting on two research projects addressing different aspects of post-pandemic Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).

plant, laptop and water bottle in front of window

The study led by Dr Farhang Tahmasebi and his team at IEDE (Elizabeth Cooper, Daniel Godoy-Shimizu, Yan Wang and Dr Samuel Stamp), has investigated if, during the first Covid-19 lockdown, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in residential buildings has deteriorated.

The project, funded by EPSRC IAA and CIBSE, took advantage of the unique opportunity of remote access to a set of monitoring devices in eight occupied flats, which had been part of an investigation before the outbreak. Unsurprisingly, analysing this dataset has revealed a substantial increase of occupancy levels in the studied flats especially on weekdays. Nonetheless, unexpectedly, occupants have relied less on natural ventilation during the first lockdown. As the article reports in detail, this higher occupancy and lower natural ventilation has resulted in a substantial increase of indoor CO2 concentration. Furthermore, the study demonstrate that, despite the lower outdoor PM10 concentrations on weekdays during the first lockdown, indoor PM10 concentrations have risen on both weekdays and weekends.

The article concludes that with the new home occupancy patterns, much more attention must be paid to the detrimental health impacts of high indoor pollutant concentrations. In this regard, Dr Farhang Tahmasebi and his team at IEDE believe that it is particularly important that the households are made aware of the benefits of sufficient air exchange rates and the environmental control possibilities at their disposal to enhance IAQ. 

The CIBSE Journal article also briefly reports on another research at IEDE conducted by Prof Jian Kang, Dr Francesco Aletta and Dr Tin Oberman, together with Prof Rossano Albatici, Simone Torresin (University of Trento) and Dr Francesco Babich (Eurac Research). This CIBSE funded research project addresses acoustic comfort at home as a “place of rest and work” and aims for the ideal indoor soundscape during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash