Large-scale retrofit projects are necessary to meet UK net zero emission targets, but better insulated and airtight homes potentially risk increasing exposure to indoor air pollutants due to reduced indoor-outdoor air exchange This paper examines indoor air pollutants in four flats of a low-rise block of flats that underwent a deep energy efficiency upgrade. Indoor air quality in terms of temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10, formaldehyde, ethanol and isobutylene were measured using plug-in Airthinx sensors in living rooms: four flats captured post-retrofit data (May-December 2021), one flat also captured retrofit and early post-retrofit data (October 2020-April 2021). Ethanol, isobutylene and formaldehyde levels were found to be high from October to December 2020 corresponding to specific retrofit works (plastering, painting). Post-retrofit, these levels dropped significantly, but PM2.5 and PM10 consistently exceeded recommended limits. Retrofit projects must consider indoor air pollutants since air-tightness may prevent pollutants originating from within the building from escaping.
Gupta, RajatHoward, Alastair
School of Architecture
Year of publication: 2022Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-09-15