UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Doctoral researchers present their work at Indoor Air 2022

30 June 2022

Three doctoral researchers from the Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering presented their work at the Indoor Air 2022 conference in Finland. Second year PhD student Jiaxu Zhou reflects on this 'important milestone' for the researchers.

Indoor Air 2022 conference

Lauren Ferguson, Jiaxu Zhou and Duncan Grassie attended and successfully presented their work at the Indoor Air conference 2022 in Kuopio (13-16 June 2022). Indoor Air 2022 was the 17th International Conference of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality & Climate (ISIAQ). This year, the conference was hosted by the Finnish Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate, an organisation originally founded to host the Indoor Air 1993 conference. A leading conference in the fields of indoor air quality, built environment and health, the conference venue was the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio campus.  

This is the first time the conference was held in-person following the outbreak of COVID-19. Previous years have seen the conference travel to Philidelphia, Hong Kong and Ghent in Belgium. Although Finland, with its stunning northern scenery of lakes and woodland, may not seem an obvious place to start with overheating and poor indoor air quality (IAQ), the Finns have been at the forefront of this field for many years, organising the first such conference in 1993 and providing one of the earliest classifications of IAQ. Kuopio is notable for having the second most satisfied residents out of the 36 largest municipalities in Finland, a country which was just awarded the “happiest country in the world award for the 5th year running! Finland is set to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 and the conference discussed the effect of this transition on indoor air quality topics, including overheating, building ventilation and carbon emissions from buildings.  

Indoor Air 2022

Lauren presented a poster on her PhD work, titled, Modelling childhood exposure to indoor air pollution across socio-economic groups. The work estimated childhood exposure to indoor PM2.5 across a number of indoor micro-environments (home, school and travel) for the Greater London area. Results were aggregated by household income to investigate exposure inequalities. The work found children in the lowest and highest income homes have significantly higher and lower exposure to indoor PM2.5, respectively. The framework builds on previous work by Lauren, examining indoor exposure inequalities in the existing literature and potential drivers using publicly available datasets.  

Indoor Air 2022

Jiaxu Zhou, a 2nd year PhD student at the Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, presented his paper and presentation on Exposure to Indoor PM2.5 and Perception of Air Quality and Productivity in an Office Building. This work was an on-site randomised single blind cross over trail in which sixty eligible employees were recruited and the perception of air quality, productivity and wellbeing were assessed. The results showed that air cleaners lowered the PM2.5 levels and also affected both perception of indoor air quality and productivity. The work and findings have been highlighted in the Closing Session of the Indoor Air conference.  

Indoor Air 2022

Duncan presented his paper from the ASPIRE collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) on retro-fit buildings, showcasing the coupling of school building stock modelling with multi criteria decision analysis within a session on “Modelling of airflows and dispersion of Indoor Air Pollutants”. In this work, the analysis of health and attainment performance, derived from simulation models of school classrooms under different stock characteristics such as construction era and climatic scenarios was described. The main outcome was the definition of the narrowing ability of natural ventilation operation to mitigate overheating and IAQ in south-eastern regional classrooms in warmer climates. Although the ASPIRE models are focussed on particulate matter, overheating and energy use it was fascinating to present alongside presentations on air tightness modelling and mould growth resulting in the development of a shopping list of additional features which would be useful to include in future iterations of the stock model! 

Presenting at an international conference is an important milestone on the academic journey for Doctoral researchers. The conference was a fantastic opportunity to get to meet other delegates at the banquet and other social events and hear about their research.  It is also a good chance to extend our networking in both of academia and industry across the world and to receive some useful recommendations and suggestions from peers.