Environmental, occupational and personal factors related to the prevalence of sick building syndrome in the general population.

The possible links between the prevalence of sick building syndrome (SBS) and personal. occupational and environmental factors were studied in a random sample of the population between the ages of 20 and 65 in three districts in middle Sweden. Those persons whose mother smoked or who were brought up in urban areas more commonly reported SBS symptoms. Other variables which were related to SBS symptoms were current urban residency, fresh paint, and preschool children in the home.

The effect of domestic factors on respiratory symptoms and FEV.

Describes a study conducted to determine whether indoor air pollution factors affected respiratory function and symptoms in 1357 non-smoking Caucasian children. The authors conducted interviews to find out about: exposure to pets and to gases, vapours and dusts from hobbies; the use of gas stoves; fireplaces, air conditioners and humidifiers; type of heating systems; and the number of residents, the number of smokers in the home.

The relationship between airborne acidity and ammonia in indoor environments.

Forty seven residential buildings were monitored for indoor acid aerosol, nitric acid and ammonia concentrations over a summer in State College, Pennsylvania. Questionnaires were also distributed for information on occupant behaviour. The paper discusses the relationship between ammonia and concentrations of aerosol strong acidity and HNO3 in the buildings. The indoor outdoor relationship was also analysed. High indoor NH3 levels were found and low acid levels. Mass balance models that included an NH3 neutralisation term were found to predict indoor acid concentrations reasonably well.

Hybrid ventilation: our first choice!

States that natural ventilation systems do not sometimes perform well in conditions of high wind and/or low external temperature. Occupants shut down the system to prevent draughts. In contract, in warm summer weather the lack of air movement is a problem. Hybrid ventilation helps mitigate some of these problems. The paper outlines problems in connection with hybrid systems and indicates solutions for them. Gives examples of hybrid system, some in use and some under construction.

"I always turn it on super": user decisions about when and how to operate room air conditioners.

An investigation was carried out in a multi-family building in New Jersey, USA of eight apartments, including resident interviews about air conditioner usage. Energy consumption for cooling varied widely across similar apartments, due to occupants' diverse beliefs about machine operation and economic considerations. 75% of residents did not use the thermostats, preferring to switch the system on and off according to comfort needs. Concludes that the problem is not lack of user education, but rather poor user-friendliness of air conditioner controls.

Characterisation of indoor particle sources: a study conducted in the metropolitan Boston area.

The most important indoor particle sources in the four single family homes studied were found to be cooking, cleaning and the movement of people. The sources contributed significantly to indoor concentration and to altered indoor particle size distributions. Air exchange rates ranged between 0.12 and 24.3 ach and impacted on indoor particle levels and size distributions.

Effect of a new ventilation system on health and well-being of office workers.

Examines the effect of a new, individually controlled ventilation system on employee symptoms. Two groups of employees were studied in one office building with mechanical ventilation, with one group the control. Individual control of the workspace ventilation was given to the intervention group. The new system gave higher air velocities, more variable temperatures, and higher concentration of airborne dust and fungal spores. Nevertheless, after four months, employees reported fewer symptoms.

Sorption of gaseous compounds on indoor materials - consequences for air quality.

Materials in the indoor environment are generally regarded as the sources of contaminants which affect air quality indoors. Broadly speaking the same mechanisms which determine the emission of contaminants from materials also determine the way contaminants in air are taken up by materials, i.e. the sink effect. The most dramatic effects of the sink effect occur when room air concentrations are rapidly changed, for example when chemicals are emitted from various activities such as painting, cooking smoking, the use of detergents or other household chemicals.

Dynamic comfort: engaging the occupants in low energy house.

This paper presents a passive design strategy where thermal comfort is achieved by engaging the occupants to define their own comfort condition and vary the quality of the space according to their needs. Two naturally ventilated houses in South Australia designed with this approach were tested and their actual performance documented. The results showed that most of the time the houses were always comfortable without any assistance from active systems.

Retrofit project trains and learns from occupants to boost energy savings, improve IAQ in neoclassic office building.

Describes how engineers retrofitted a modern heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, controls and other energy saving modifications into a neoclassic 19th century building. The problems involved preserving the building's appearance, working while the occupants were present and difficulties in modifying occupant behaviour by means of memoranda to instruct them about how to produce maximum energy savings and indoor environmental comfort.