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Effects of types of ventilation system on indoor particle concentrations in residential buildings



The objective of this study was to quantify the influence of ventilation systems on indoor particle concentrations in residential buildings. Fifteen occupied, single-family apartments were selected from three sites. The three sites have three different ventilation systems: unbalanced mechanical ventilation, balanced mechanical ventilation, and natural ventilation. Field measurements were conducted between April and June 2012, when outdoor air temperatures were comfortable. Number concentrations of particles, PM2.5 and CO2, were continuously measured both outdoors and indoors. In the apartments with natural ventilation, I/O ratios of particle number concentrations ranged from 0.56 to 0.72 for submicron particles, and from 0.25 to 0.60 for particles larger than 1.0 μm. The daily average indoor particle concentration decreased to 50% below the outdoor level for submicron particles and 25% below the outdoor level for fine particles, when the apartments were mechanically ventilated. The two mechanical ventilation systems reduced the I/O ratios by 26% for submicron particles and 65% for fine particles compared with the natural ventilation. These results showed that mechanical ventilation can reduce exposure to outdoor particles in residential buildings.