Air infiltration induced inter-unit dispersion and infectious risk assessment in a high-rise residential building

Abstract

Identifying possible airborne transmission routes and assessing the associated infectious risks are essential for implementing effective control measures. This study focuses on the infiltration-induced inter-unit pollutant dispersion in a high-rise residential (HRR) building. The outdoor wind pressure distribution on the building facades was obtained from the wind tunnel experiments. And the inter-household infiltration and tracer gas transmission were simulated using multi-zone model. The risk levels along building height and under different wind directions were examined, and influence of component leakage area was analysed. It is found that, the cross-infection risk can be over 20% because of the low air infiltration rate below 0.7 ACH, which is significantly higher than the risk of 9% obtained in our previous on-site measurement with air change rate over 3 ACH. As the air infiltration rate increases along building height, cross-infection risk is generally higher on the lower floors. The effect of wind direction on inter-unit dispersion level is significant, and the presence of a contaminant source in the windward side results in the highest cross-infection risks in other adjacent units on the same floor. Properly improving internal components tightness and increasing air change via external components are beneficial to the control of internal inter-unit transmission induced by infiltration. However, this approach may increase the cross-infection via the external transmission, and effective control measures should be further explored considering multiple transmission routes.

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Acknowledgements

The research is financially funded by Health and Medical Research Fund, Hong Kong SAR Government, with the project reference no.13121442.

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Correspondence to Jianlei Niu.

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Wu, Y., Niu, J. & Liu, X. Air infiltration induced inter-unit dispersion and infectious risk assessment in a high-rise residential building. Build. Simul. 11, 193–202 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12273-017-0388-6

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Keywords

  • air infiltration
  • inter-unit dispersion
  • infectious risk assessment
  • multi-zone modeling
  • wind tunnel experiment