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Studies: High Ventilation Rates are Associated with Lower Rate of Illness and Absences

YijunW CA, United States 0 Ratings 134 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: YijunW

Studies: High Ventilation Rates are Associated with Lower Rate of Illness and Absences

Have you thought about how ventilation* rates influence human health and performance? Studies have shown high ventilation rates are associated with lower respiratory illness, lower rates of sick building syndrome, and lower absences in office and schools.

Respiratory Illness
Research has shown that increased ventilation rates are associated with fewer adverse health effects. Studies found that high-density buildings such as barracks, jails, nursing homes, and health care facilities that commonly have low ventilation rates tend to be associated statistically significantly with 50 percent to 370 percent higher rates of respiratory illness. The presumption is that low ventilation rates are likely to lead to high airborne concentrations of viruses and bacteria (Berkeley Lab).

Sick Building Syndrome
Many studies consistently concluded that workers of office buildings with above-average ventilation rates have 10 percent to 80 percent fewer sick building syndrome symptoms**. A statistical analysis shows a drop in ventilation rate from 17 to 10 cubic feet per minute (cfm) is associated with a 15 percent increase in sick building syndrome and an increase in ventilation rate from 17 to 50 cfm is associated with a 33 percent decrease in sick building syndrome (Berkeley Lab).

Absences in Offices and Schools
Occupants of buildings with higher ventilation rates, particularly school buildings, have lower rates of absence (Berkeley Lab). In one workplace study, a doubling of ventilation rate from 25 to 50 cfm is associated with a 35 percent decrease in the short-term absence (Berkeley Lab).
Four studies found fallen absence rates were associated statistically significant with more ventilation or lower carbon dioxide concentrations in schools or daycare buildings. One of the four studies, which is based on 162 classrooms for two years, found a 1.6 percent decrease in absence for each 2 cfm increase per capita in ventilation rate (Berkeley Lab).

* Ventilation is defined as the supply of outdoor air to a building.
** Sick building syndrome is a condition affecting office workers, typically marked by headaches and respiratory problems, attributed to unhealthy or stressful factors in the working environment such as poor ventilation.

To read more, please visit:
https://iaqscience.lbl.gov/vent-summary

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