Mitigation of airborne contaminants dispersion in an educational building and investigate its impacts on indoor air quality and energy performance


In today's modern world, people spend most of their time inside buildings, highlighting the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) and providing clean air to the occupants. In this regard, a simple educational building is modeled using CONTAM-EnergyPlus co-simulation to investigate IAQ enhancement strategies and their role in the building's energy performance. Three contaminants, including CO2, PM2.5, and SARS-CoV-2, are considered to be generated from various sources. The occupants generate CO2, a source of PM2.5 is assumed in the lunchroom to represent cooking activities, and a person who sheds SARS-CoV-2 moves around the zones. The main goal of this study is to apply various pollutant mitigation methods to the model, such as increasing ventilation rate and outdoor air (OA) percentage, natural ventilation, installing filters and air cleaners, and UVGI lights. Then, their performance and impact on the defined contaminants are studied individually and in combination.

In this regard, a scenario with 80% outdoor air (OA) and 100% ventilation rate has been shown to be effective in reducing all three contaminants' concentrations to acceptable levels in most zones, but this results in 50% higher energy consumption compared to the model with no outdoor air. However, to achieve a safe level of PM2.5 in the lunchroom, a combination of all the strategies presented in the (0.8OA+1Vent+NatVent+all) scenario is required. Furthermore, HEPA air cleaners are more effective in diluting contaminants in all zones than UVGI lights and MERV 13 filters. Additionally, this study has shown that HVAC systems operating with little or no outside air can increase the risk of pollutants being transmitted between adjacent zones through the ducts, making it necessary to install in-duct filters.


Indoor air quality, CONTAM-EnergyPlus, Contaminants controlling strategies, Energy performance, Educational building

How to Cite

Abbaspour, A., Bahadori-Jahromi, A., Mylona, A., Janbey, A., Godfrey, P. B. & Zhang, H., (2023) “Mitigation of airborne contaminants dispersion in an educational building and investigate its impacts on indoor air quality and energy performance”, Engineering Future Sustainability 1(1). doi:


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Atefeh Abbaspour (University of West London)
Ali Bahadori-Jahromi (University of West London)
Anastasia Mylona (The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers [CIBSE])
Alan Janbey (London College, UCK)
Paulina B Godfrey (Hilton)
Hexin Zhang (Edinburg Napier University)





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