The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may spread through aerosols, so-called airborne transmission, especially in a poorly ventilated indoor environment. Ventilation protects the occupants against airborne transmission. Various studies have been performed on the importance of sufficient ventilation for diluting the concentration of virus and lowering any subsequent dose inhaled by the occupants. However, the ventilation situation can be problematic in public buildings and other shared spaces, such as shops, offices, schools, and restaurants. If ventilation is provided by opening windows, the outdoor airflow rate depends strongly on the specific local conditions (opening sizes, relative positions, climatic and weather conditions). This study uses field measurements to analyze the natural ventilation performance in a school building according to the window opening rates, positions, and weather conditions. The ventilation rates were calculated by the tracer gas decay method, and the infection risk was assessed using the Wells-Riley equation. Under cross-ventilation conditions, the average ventilation rates were measured at 6.51 h for 15% window opening, and 11.20 h for 30% window opening. For single-sided ventilation, the ventilation rates were reduced to about 30% of the values from the cross-ventilation cases. The infection probability is less than 1% in all cases when a mask is worn and more than 15% of the windows are open with cross-ventilation. With single-sided ventilation, if the exposure time is less than 1 h, the infection probability can be kept less than 1% with a mask. However, the infection probability exceeds 1% in all cases where exposure time is greater than 2 h, regardless of whether or not a mask is worn. Also, when the air conditioner was operated with a window opening ratio of 15%, power consumption increased by 10.2%.Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Eun Kyung Kim