In November 2020, Alejandro was invited to participate in a workshop organised by the STFC Air Quality Network (SAQN). The workshop contemplated a sandpit event for projects developed through the 2 week-online workshop, where Alejandro and 8 other researchers from different institutions joined efforts to run a pilot study to study the sources, behaviour and mitigation strategies influencing indoor air quality (IAQ) with particular attention to bio-particulates. All the researchers prepared the following lines for a blog at the SAQN website:
The average person in the UK spends more than 90% of their time indoors, and indoor air quality (IAQ) related emissions can contribute significantly to total air pollution exposure. Despite this, relatively few studies focus on IAQ compared to outdoor air quality.
A recent SAQN workshop brought together experts on building design and ventilation, indoor air quality measurement, occupant behaviour, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The 9 experts* from academia and industry will be utilising the domestic energy systems and technologies incubator based at The University of Chester (designed to represent a kitchen space), to characterise IAQ related events using equipment donated by the participating organisations.
In the period of January to June 2021, this pilot study aims to:
- Define occupant behaviours (e.g., cooking, cleaning, etc.) based on the UK Time Use Survey.
- Carry out physical behaviours in different ventilation conditions, e.g. cooking & cleaning.
- Measure air quality factors (including particulates and microbes) and relevant environmental factors (e.g., temperature and air movement) before and after the activities occur.
- Develop a CFD simulation and utilise STFC high performance computing facilities to improve its relationship to actual data.
The data from this initial study will be used as proof of concept to allow this group to continue developing and validating the CFD simulation against physical results, as well as to facilitate future deployments into real-world indoor environments. Once the CFD simulation is sufficiently developed, it will enable faster exploration of many behavioural activities and environmental settings.