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Indoor environmental quality in schools: NOTECH solution vs. standard solution.

BACKGROUND: In many Danish schools, the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is challenged and studies document a poor IEQ in a majority of existing schools. Municipalities cannot afford comprehensive renovations and expensive mechanical ventilation solutions, hence public schools often suffer from poor indoor environment conditions. This study tests a new façade based, demand-controlled ventilation solution called NOTECH in the renovation of school. The study tests NOTECH vs. existing mechanical ventilation solution, comparing performance of both solutions at Skovbrynet Skole in Denmark.

METHODS: The project investigates the effect of the NOTECH solution in a primary school classroom, comparing it to a similar classroom with conventional, mechanical ventilation. Methodically, indoor environmental quality and energy performance is monitored in the two identical classrooms during one school year 2018 - 2019.

RESULTS: The results show that both systems keep the conditions within acceptable limits and CO2 levels below 1000 ppm, which is the requirement according to the Danish Building Regulations. In terms of costs, the NOTECH system has a lower overall cost than the mechanical ventilation system, with total estimated costs for installation, heating, electricity and maintenance amounting to approximately 35% of the mechanical system's costs. Finally, the results show that the NOTECH solution has a smaller embedded CO2 footprint for building materials, reducing the estimated carbon load by 95% compared to the mechanical ventilation solution.

CONCLUSIONS: While the performance of the both systems complies to the Danish Building Regulations, the indoor environmental quality between systems differs significantly. Results showing a higher air-temperature and lower relative air-humidity in the classroom with mechanical ventilation during winter and lower CO 2 levels in the mechanically ventilated classroom during winter and summer. Costs for implementation, energy consumption for heating and CO 2 footprint for building materials are significantly lower for the NOTECH solution, compared to the mechanical solution.

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