28 November 2022
Ventilation behaviour in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) is an under-researched area, despite the benefits that ventilation may have on occupant respiratory health. Most NZ homes rely on natural ventilation, i.e. window opening, which in turn relies on occupants to control ventilation. To understand how and to what extent people ventilate their homes, and ways in which ventilation can be improved, we will carry out a three-stage project.
18 October 2022
Improving ventilation in indoor spaces is a key strategy to prevent Covid-19 transmission, but it is unclear whether extensive messaging about this is changing behaviour or reducing transmission. Funded by the Ministry of Health, NIWA air quality researchers are carrying out research to understand ventilation behaviour and examine how well spaces used by our most vulnerable populations are, and could be, ventilated.
14 October 2022
Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | The Ministry of Education has developed a series of downloadable resources to support schools with good ventilation. They provide guidance relating to:
- Ventilation in a space
- Portable air cleaners
- CO2 monitoring
A link to COVID-19 Ventilation research and studies is also provided.
1 September 2022
Conference date: 5-6 October 2022
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
This conference will consist of 3 parallel sessions largely devoted to:
- Smart ventilation, IAQ and health
- Building and ductwork airtightness
- Ventilative cooling – Resilient cooling
11 April 2022
Building experts are pushing for ventilation systems to be compulsory in all new homes to help curb Covid-19 and other airborne diseases.
28 February 2022
Ventilation is a key and relatively underutilised public health measure that can reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Last year we outlined the need for adequate ventilation in schools and highlighted the need for nationwide ventilation surveillance. In this blog we provide an overview of the results of carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring carried out in a variety of schools at the start of the Omicron wave. These results highlight that excessive levels of CO2 can build up in classrooms – and that this can be prevented by window opening.
27 February 2022
In the Covid-19 era, sneezing loudly in the office can turn heads, especially if the perpetrator is un-masked.
So, as well as complaining about air conditioning that runs too hot or too cold, workers are now asking whether souped-up ventilation can deal with virus particles, helping slow the spread of Omicron
24 February 2022
Aotearoa New Zealand is in a major Omicron outbreak. With Covid-19 cases doubling every few days, what opportunities are there to strengthen the mitigation approaches in early education settings? In this blog we discuss what is needed to protect this group of children and their whānau as we navigate the next phases of the Covid-19 outbreak. There remains substantial scope for further risk reduction measures, especially relating to improving ventilation, increasing outdoor activities and appropriate mask use.
23 February 2022
Our complacency about indoor air contributed to our vulnerability to COVID-19, and we’ll continue to be vulnerable to COVID and other emerging threats until we re-think how we share our air.
Humans are social; we need to be with each other. That’s what made us vulnerable. Our first defences against COVID-19 were social distancing and lockdowns – highly effective against the spread of the virus, but damaging to our economies and punishing for our mental health, social support networks, family relationships and child development.
Now that Omicron is spreading and lockdowns are likely over, can we preserve the in-person experience without the risk? Science warns more variants and pathogens are surely coming, including those we have no vaccine for. Are masks enough? Can we do things better next time?
Can you recall those early, fearful days of the pandemic, not knowing when a vaccine would come, if ever? But all along there was a simple public health measure available for everyone: fresh air.
16 February 2022
In addition to other public health measures (such as mask use, staying home when unwell, vaccination, and reducing numbers of people and time spent in waiting rooms or other places where people mix), good ventilation (bringing in as much outdoor air as possible) and air cleaners are additional layers that can help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
When assessing ventilation and air cleaning systems, thought should be given to the room usage. Improvements in ventilation are particularly effective in reducing airborne cross-infection risk in high occupancy areas where there is little close contact between people, e.g. waiting rooms.
26 January 2022
Airborne transmission is the primary transmission pathway for the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. Transmission can be reduced through mask use, physical distancing and ventilation of indoor spaces. The New Zealand Indoor Air Quality Research Centre (IAQRC) have conducted modelling and assessed ventilation rates in a variety of NZ buildings, which has led to advice for the NZ Government on ventilation and air cleaning practises to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19.
15 January 2022
Associations between house characteristics and inspector-assessed subjective indoor dampness (yes/no) and measured floor and ceiling joist timber moisture were measured, using the 2005, 2010 and 2015 New Zealand House Condition Surveys, involving 1572 timber-framed houses. We conducted logistic (dampness) and linear regression (moisture) for each survey separately and mutually adjusted for other house characteristics (ventilation, insulation, subfloor defects, building envelope condition (BEC) defects, tenure, number of occupants), climate zone (latitude), rainfall and outdoor temperature.
17 December 2021
It is important you consider how you ventilate your teaching and other occupied indoor spaces. Along with testing, vaccination, good hygiene and physical distancing, good ventilation is important in minimising the risk of airborne transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.
8 December 2021
Advice from the Ministry of Health includes ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 through air ventilation, air conditioning and air cleaning.
5 December 2021
As Covid-19 pops up in more places, the Ministry of Education and NIWA are investigating how well ventilated New Zealand classrooms are.
27 October 2021
In this blog, we discuss how to use carbon dioxide (CO2) measures as a proxy for estimating the level of ventilation in a building and to guide ventilation improvements in schools and workplaces.
26 October 2021
Indoor environments increase the risk of transmission for the virus that causes Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) by containment and concentration of the airborne virus. However, to reduce such transmission, the particles that carry the virus can be diluted by bringing in as much outdoor air as possible. When good ventilation is not possible, air purifiers can be used as an additional preventative measure to reduce the number of virus-laden particles.
21 September 2021
New Zealand classrooms are often crowded, damp, mouldy and poorly ventilated – prime conditions for Covid to spread. And with new strains affecting children more than ever, making our schools safer should be an urgent priority
10 September 2021
Ventilation is a valuable protection that works well in combination with other pandemic control measures such as vaccination and mask use, with additional benefits for improving children’s learning and concentration.
30 August 2021
The importance of indoor aerosol transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 is increasingly recognised. In this blog we address the particular need to improve ventilation in three settings: (i) homes with contacts who are self-isolating; (ii) indoor workplaces that have essential workers; and (iii) MIQ facilities.
3 June 2021
The increasing use of new building materials and technologies means there is a lot we don’t know about pollutants in our built environment and their impact on our health. Materials, along with peoples’ behaviour and events such as building fires, affect indoor air quality (IAQ). To understand how we can reduce health risks associated with poor IAQ, we first need to understand what pollutants people are being exposed to in their homes, schools and workplaces. A new analytical system for pollutant detection will help BRANZ do this.
6 April 2021
This paper assesses the contribution of heating and household factors to indoor NO2 in almost 350 homes and reports on the reduction in NO2 levels due to heater replacement.
1 April 2021
ODINs (Outdoor Dust Information Node) are devices designed and built at NIWA that are designed to be deployed in grids of 25 to 100 units across a town. Each unit measures particulate matter levels (PM10 and PM2.5) every 10 minutes or faster, sending data to the cloud via the mobile phone network.
3 March 2021
Ventilation plays a major role in indoor air quality and moisture management in houses, lowering humidity levels and diluting and removing contaminants that impact on health and productivity. Research suggests, however, that houses are not being effectively ventilated. There are steps that both designers and home occupiers need to take to ensure healthier air in our homes.
22 June 2020
Infiltration of outdoor smoke into homes has become very topical recently, especially when bushfire smoke was blanketing parts of Australia, and public were being advised to stay indoors for some protection. A similar situation occurs in many southern Australian and New Zealand, towns and cities, where outdoor smoke levels frequently exceed air quality guidelines during cold calm winter nights.
1 June 2020
The identification of indoor air pollutants is useful for exposure analysis and air quality management as we spend 80-90% of our time in built environments. We present the results from a study of indoor aerosol composition across a range of residential housing stock in Wellington, New Zealand.
18 March 2020
This study investigates the thermal efficiency of a solar air heater (SAH), when it was mounted on a custom-made support frame, and was operated under different air mass flow rate.
19 February 2020
Radio New Zealand’s Alison Balance interviewed Physicist Bill Trompetter and atmospheric chemist Perry Davy, from GNS Science, highlighting collective effort on air quality issues outside and indoors.
1 December 2019
Bushfires, prescribed burns and residential wood burning are a significant source of fine particles affecting the health and well-being of many communities. Despite the lack of evidence, homes are perceived as a critical frontline of defence against episodic outdoor air pollution from smoke emissions.
1 October 2019
The indoor air quality of seven homes in the Wellington region was monitored over May-September 2017.
1 October 2019
Using commercial equipment to test the air quality in every New Zealand classroom would be prohibitively expensive. This project developed a low-cost sensor platform with remote logging and data transmission and tested it in 11 schools.
1 October 2019
A study of the air quality in a Wellington primary school classroom measured temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulates. Elements in the particulates were also identified to find the source of the pollution.
16 September 2019
Julie Bennett spoke on Indoor Air Quality at this conference.
16 September 2019
2019 Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand conference proceedings.
1 March 2019
Children are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of air pollution and as they spend a large proportion of time at school, this is an important environment for children’s exposure to air pollution. Understanding the factors that influence indoor air quality in schools is critical for the assessment and control of indoor air pollution.
22 February 2019
TVNZ’s Seven Sharp show featured a story initiated by a US researcher who had recently presented that indoor PM concentrations were higher indoors while cooking a roast dinner than the worst US cities.
22 October 2018
Growing evidence that the air we breathe in our homes, schools and offices is an overlooked but potentially huge health threat has prompted calls for new standards.
30 August 2018
Dr Corinne Mandin, Head of IAQ and Exposure Assessment Unit, Scientific and Technical Center for Building (CSTB), France, presented the governance and the functioning of The French Indoor air Quality Observatory (IAQO).
12 April 2018
A low-cost, low power consumption indoor environment monitoring device, called SKOMOBO (SKOol Monitoring Box), was developed. SKOMOBO includes the sensors to monitor temperature/relative humidity, carbon dioxide, particulate matter (PM) and motion (PIR). SKOMOBO was developed using the open source software on Arduino Pro Mini.
27 February 2018
This seminar-style course provided an essential introduction to what air pollution is and what issues are unique to New Zealand. This course explored how air pollution affects the health and wellbeing of people and what factors we can change to reduce the numbers of hospital admissions and deaths due to air pollution.
15 October 2017
Julie Bennett spoke on Indoor Air Quality at this conference.
15 May 2017
The purpose of this study was to determine the environmental impacts associated with a deep energy efficiency refurbishment using life cycle assessment. A prototypical refurbished model of an office building located in Auckland, New Zealand was used as a case study. The refurbishment included major changes to the building envelope with additional insulation, modified wall-window ratio, solar shading as well as technical replacement of the lighting and HVAC system.
1 January 2017
A literature review of healthy homes and schools with emphasis on the issues pertinent to New Zealand.
7 September 2013
2013 Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand conference proceedings.
1 August 2011
There is growing evidence that asthma symptoms can be aggravated or events triggered by exposure to indoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emitted from unflued gas heating.