Healthy Zero Energy Buildings (HZEB)

Field sampling completed in 21 retail stores.

This study aims to collect scientific data to help update California's ventilation rate standards for new commercial buildings. We recruited grocery, apparel, furniture, and hardware stores to participate in a one-day sampling study. The study period lasted for 18 months from September 2011 to March 2013. We measured building ventilation rates and collected indoor air quality samples in 19 stores. Two of the stores were sampled twice, bringing the final count to 21 stores. Of the 19 stores, ten stores are in the Bay Area, three in Sacramento, one in Fresno, and five in the Los Angeles area. Data are being analyzed to determine the level of ventilation needed in retail stores to provide indoor environments that are both healthy and energy efficient.

For more information, please contact:

Rengie Chan
Research Scientist, Indoor Environment Group
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Phone: (510) 486-6570

Reduction in ventilation rates diminished decision-making performance.

Many minimum ventilation rate (VR) standards specify a minimum rate of outdoor air supply per person and per unit floor area. Little is known about the relative importance of VR per person and VR per unit floor area. Two experiments were performed in a unique two-room laboratory facility that enabled independent control of VR per person and VR per unit floor area. Adult male and female subjects reported intensity of sick building syndrome health symptoms and perceived air quality via web-based questionnaires. Decision-making performance was evaluated with a computer-based tool called the strategic management simulation (SMS). Study results provide compelling evidence that decreased VR per person and per unit floor area can diminish human performance even when perceived air quality and sick building syndrome symptoms are not affected.

Study of ventilation and illness absence completed in 16 office spaces.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) collected data over one year in California office buildings to study how outdoor air ventilation rates affect employee absence and respiratory illness. Environmental measurements of carbon dioxide, temperature, and relative humidity were collected quietly and unobtrusively during the year. Respiratory illness and illness absences were assessed by brief web-based occupant surveys. Data analysis is in progress. The findings will help in setting minimum ventilation standards in California that protect the health of occupants, as the State moves to reduce energy use in commercial buildings.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Mendell
Staff Scientist, Indoor Environment Group
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Phone: (510) 486-5762