(1) Background: Many schools and higher education settings have confronted the issue of reopening their facilities after the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, several airflow strategies spanning from adding portable air purifiers to major mechanical overhauls have been suggested to equip classrooms with what is necessary to provide a safe and reliable environment. Yet, there are many unknowns about specific contributions of the building system and its design and performance on indoor air quality (IAQ) improvements. (2) Methods: this study examined the combined effect of ventilation type, airflow rates, and filtration on IAQ in five different classrooms. Experiments were conducted by releasing inert surrogate particles into the classrooms and measuring the concentrations in various locations of the room. (3) Results: we showed that while the distribution of particles in the space is a complex function of space geometry and air distribution configurations, the average decay rate of contaminants is proportional to the number of air changes per hour in the room. (4) Conclusions: rooms with a central HVAC system responded quicker to an internal source of contamination than rooms with only fan coil units. Furthermore, increasing the ventilation rate without improved filtration is an inefficient use of energy.
Mohammadi Nafchi, A.; Blouin, V.; Kaye, N.; Metcalf, A.; Van Valkinburgh, K.; Mousavi, E. Room HVAC Influences on the Removal of Airborne Particulate Matter: Implications for School Reopening during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Energies 2021, 14, 7463. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14227463