UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on households’ environmental control behaviour, IAQ and energy use

This project investigates the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on households’ indoor air quality (IAQ) and environmental control behaviour.

Illustration of coronavirus

19 August 2020


Following the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, UK households are spending unprecedented amounts of time indoors. The implications of this for indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy-use are unknown. However, as the new home occupancy pattern extends indefinitely, it is more critical than ever to ensure that IAQ in our homes meets the recommended standards. 

This study will analyse household IAQ and energy-related behavior to provide in-time recommendations for a healthy IAQ through the effective use of building environmental control devices. To this end, the investigators will use monitored IAQ and window operation data obtained from two East London apartment blocks before and during the lockdown to examine:

  • If IAQ in the monitored flats has deteriorated;
  • If the patterns of window operation by occupants suggest significant changes;
  • If a more effective approach to natural ventilation could enhance IAQ and reduce energy demand.


The project receives £15k from UCL’s EPSRC IAA Knowledge Exchange & Innovation Funding.

Impact, Influence & Outreach

  • Using the UCL research expertise and infra-structure to inform and support London, the UK and the wider world in dealing with environmental and health implications of COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Enhancing UCL engagement with a world-leading building energy modelling software company.
  • Contributing to employability of UCL PhD students by connecting them to industry and engaging them in practical real-world challenges in the field of built environment