Building ventilation and outdoor air pollution: Implications for health, comfort and energy

Evangelos Belias (Human-Oriented Built Environment Lab, EPFL) has successfully defended in front of the expert jury his PhD thesis: "Building ventilation and outdoor air pollution: Implications for health, comfort and energy". This research was conducted under the supervision of Prof. Dusan Licina, Head of HOBEL, EPFL. The public defense will take place on Friday, 24 October 2023, at 17:00 at the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg (room HBL0 21A). Link for online streaming on demand.

As humans spend most of their time indoors, indoor air quality (IAQ) significantly impacts their health. In parallel, building ventilation consumes significant energy, contributing to climate change. However, the relationships between the building ventilation, IAQ and its related health effects, and the energy demand are unclear, making the operation and design of ventilation non-optimal.

This thesis created a comprehensive outdoor air pollution database to investigate how the different ventilation systems influence the IAQ and the energy demand in buildings. The analyses revealed that energy savings in the ventilation systems are possible while, in parallel, improving IAQ when the longitudinal outdoor air pollution is considered in the design and operation phases of the building. Designers and building operators can follow the recommendations from this thesis to design and operate buildings more efficiently. Policymakers can benefit from the results to refine the standards and guidelines, contributing to healthier and more sustainable buildings.