PhD Supervision Use of Plants and natural ventilation to improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption in school buildings by PENG Zhen. In conjunction with UNNC (Dr Wu Deng- Main Supervisor)



Only 5 cities out of 367 in China met the World Health Organization (WHO)'s recommended air quality standards in 2012. In the same year, red alerts have been finally announced by the Chinese Government to warn the general public about the risks associated with outdoor air pollution. Beijing schools have been told to shut down, and school children have been sent home. Outdoor air pollution and the associated poor indoor air quality in school environments in China have been closely framed as the main cause of respiratory diseases among students, such as asthma, rhinitis, and rhino conjunctivitis, and the excessive CO2 and VOC concentrations are to blame for a student’s lower concentration levels and diminished learning potential, leading towards poor academic performance. Children spend over 70% of their weekday time inside classrooms and are recognizably more vulnerable than adults to the adverse effects of air pollution. They generally breathe a higher volume of air relative to body weight at a faster rate (20-50%) and have still an immature immune system. This PhD work is investigating how to address these issues in primary schools in China. The study been set has up in Tai’an city, Shandong Province (A top provincial consumer of coal and the second biggest emitter of air pollutants in China). The work has identifiedg the actual levels of indoor air quality in 9 primary school classrooms during winter periods and is discussing causes and possible solutions to improve the actual conditions in these classrooms. The measured results revealed excessively dangerous exposure to VOCs, CO2 and various particulate matters for young children. Over a 24 hour period PM2.5 concentrations were found to be 2.9 times higher than the recommended Chinese guideline values of NAAQS-2012 (137μg/m3 vs 35μg/m3 ), with non-compliance to both Chinese current standards as well as WHO. The strong correlation between air pollution, low indoor air quality and the performance of students (low cognitive abilities), school absenteeism and the overall effect on pupil’s health has been largely underestimated and unaccounted for in the context of China.
Course period2/02/163/06/19
Course levelPostgraduate research