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Evaluation of the indoor air quality minimum ventilation rate procedure for use in California retail buildings

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Abstract

This research assesses benefits of adding to California Title-24 ventilation rate (VR) standards a performance-based option, similar to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers ‘Indoor Air Quality Procedure’ (IAQP) for retail spaces. Ventilation rates and concentrations of contaminants of concern (CoC) were measured in 13 stores. Mass balance models were used to estimate ‘IAQP-based’ VRs that would maintain concentrations of all CoCs below health- or odor-based reference concentration limits. An intervention study in a ‘big box’ store assessed how the current VR, the Title 24-prescribed VR, and the IAQP-based VR (0.24, 0.69, and 1.51 air changes per hour) influenced measured IAQ and perceived of IAQ. Neither current VRs nor Title 24-prescribed VRs would maintain all CoCs below reference limits in 12 of 13 stores. In the big box store, the IAQP-based VR kept all CoCs below limits. More than 80% of subjects reported acceptable air quality at all three VRs. In 11 of 13 buildings, saving energy through lower VRs while maintaining acceptable IAQ would require source reduction or gas-phase air cleaning for CoCs. In only one of the 13 retail stores surveyed, application of the IAQP would have allowed reduced VRs without additional contaminant-reduction strategies.

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