Quantitative relationship of sick building syndrome symptoms with ventilation rates

TitleQuantitative relationship of sick building syndrome symptoms with ventilation rates
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsWilliam J Fisk, Anna G Mirer, Mark J Mendell
JournalIndoor Air
Keywordsassociation, Commercial Building Ventilation and Indoor Environmental Quality Group, health, health and productivity effects, indoor environment department, quantification, sick building syndrome, symptoms, ventilation rate

Data from published studies were combined and analyzed to develop best-fit equations and curves quantifying the change in sick building syndrome (SBS) symptom prevalence in office workers with ventilation rate. For each study, slopes were calculated, representing the fractional change in SBS symptom prevalence per unit change in ventilation rate per person. Values of ventilation rate, associated with each value of slope, were also calculated. Linear regression equations were fitted to the resulting data points, after weighting by study size. Integration of the slope-ventilation rate equations yielded curves of relative SBS symptom prevalence versus ventilation rate. Based on these analyses, as the ventilation rate drops from 10 to 5 L/s-person,relative SBS symptom prevalence increases approximately 23% (12% to 32%), and asventilation rate increases from 10 to 25 L/s-person, relative prevalence decreases approximately 29% (15% to 42%). Variations in SBS symptom types, building features, and outdoor air quality may cause the relationship of SBS symptom prevalence with ventilation rate in specific situations to differ from the average relationship predicted in this paper.