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Methods to assess the effectiveness of naturally ventilated classrooms in Gauteng, South Africa

Essah, E. and Kwawu, W. (2015) Methods to assess the effectiveness of naturally ventilated classrooms in Gauteng, South Africa. In: WABER Conference 2015, 10-12 August 2015, Legon-Accra, Ghana, pp. 799-814.

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Abstract/Summary

There is a tendency to reduce ventilation rates and natural or hybrid ventilation systems to ensure the conservation of energy in school buildings. However, high indoor pollutant concentration, due to natural or hybrid ventilation systems may have a significant adverse impact on the health and academic performance of pupils and students. Reviewed evidence shows that this can be detrimental to health and wellbeing in schools because of the learner density within a small area, eventually indicating that CO2 concentrations can rise to very high levels (about 4000 ppm) in classrooms during occupancy periods. In South Africa’s naturally ventilated classrooms, it is not clear whether the environmental conditions are conducive for learning. In addition, natural ventilation will be minimized given the fact that in cold, wet or windy weather, doors and windows will commonly remain closed. Evidence from literature based studies indicates that the significance of ventilation techniques is not understood satisfactorily and additional information concerning naturally ventilated schools has to be provided for better design and policy formulation. To develop a thorough understanding of the environments in classrooms, many other parameters have to be considered as well, such as outdoor air quality, CO2 concentrations, temperature and relative humidity and safety issues that may be important drawbacks for naturally ventilated schools. The aim of this paper is to develop a conceptual understanding of methods that can be implemented to assess the effectiveness of naturally ventilated classrooms in Gauteng, South Africa. A theoretical concept with an embedded practical methodology have been proposed for the research programme to investigate the relationship between ventilation rates and learning in schools in Gauteng , a province in South Africa. It is important that existing and future school buildings must include adequate outdoor ventilation, control of moisture, and avoidance of indoor exposures to microbiologic and chemical substances considered likely to have adverse effects in South Africa. Adequate ventilation in classrooms is necessary to reduce and/or eradicate the transmission of indoor pollutants.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Innovative and Sustainable Technologies
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments (TSBE)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Energy Research
ID Code:41575

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