DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG

Course: Subject: Year/Semester: Title: Name: UID: Date of Submission: Submitted to:

BSc(Surv) Construction III (RECO2005) Year 2/Semester 2 Coursework Part II Lai Cheuk Hang 2008263610 10th April, 2010 Dr. F.F. Ng

Topic: Select an indoor space of your choice and produce an assessment report evaluating the current states and design of the indoor environment using annotated sketches and/or photos as appropriate. Identify any potential problems and recommend possible solutions to rectify the problems.

Content
Introduction .. .. . . . ..3

Background information.

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Indoor Air Quality.

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Lighting System.

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Sonic Environment.

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Conclusion.

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Reference.

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Introduction Indoo air quality is a major determinant of personal exposure to pollutants in today s world.(Phillip J. Walsh et al). AGood indoor environment is vitally important. Users perform a wide range of tasks in an indoor environment. Examples include breathing, reading and sleeping. Providing a balanced indoor environment can enhance work efficiency as well as quality.

There are different elements interacting each other from time to time within a certain indoor space. The three major elements that affect environment are indoor air quality, lighting and sonic environment. Given the three elements are well maintained and balanced, users can enjoy a comfortable environment.

In this report, a room in one of the residential halls in the University of Hong Kong (HKU) will be examined. Potential problems related to the three criteria will be discussed. Possible solutions will also be suggested to rectify the problems.

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Background information In this report, Starr Hall on Pokfulam Road is chosen as a case study to investigate the indoor environment of its room.

Starr Hall is a 24-storey residential halls located on located on Pokfulam Road. It is one of the 13 residential halls built by HKU. Locating on Pokfulam Road, i t is very convenient for students to go to campus. It accommodates 500 students and it is the biggest hall among all the others. Thus, the indoor environment become s crucial because it may directly affect students performance.

A student room on 9/F is chosen for investigation. The layout of the room is shown in Figure 1. There are two sides, A and B, inside a room accommodating two students. There is two windows on the right side, allowing air movement for natural ventilation. Besides, The lighting system consists of daylight and artificial lighting. There are two sources of artificial lighting. The first one is the fluorescent tubes installed on ceiling of the room. The second one is the fluorescent tubes on two desks. Furthermore, there is no special installation or equipment for sound absorption.

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Figure 1 A room on 9/F

This indoor space is a residential room and the occupants are HKU students. They carry out daily activities including sleeping, reading and changing. The design requirements in this space should fit general requirements in a living place. For example, there is a bed for occupant to sleep, a desk to read and work, and a chair to sit. Windows should be provided fo r ventilation. There should also be sufficient lighting to carry out activities.

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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Havingdifferent significant effects on the surroundings,indoor Air Quality is one of the most important elements within an internal environment. The essences of IAQ are to provide comfort and maintain the state of health of occupants. If IAQ is poor, occupants may suffer from sickness due to air pollution. It may a lso lead to respiratory diseases because there are air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emitted from vehicles.

IAQ depends heavily on outdoor air quality as air flows from outdoor and circulates internally. Wind breeze can directly ventilate a room, but it can bring air pollutants as well. World Trade Organization defines air quality as

The physical and chemical nature of indoor air, as delivered to the breathing zone of building occupants, which produces a complete state of mental, physical and social well-being of the occupants, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

In general, there are three factors affecting IAQ. They include 1. Distribution of adequate ventilation air 2. Airborne contaminants 3. Temperature and humidity

Distributing adequate ventilation air is vitally important. By letting air flow through, fresh air is brought into an i ndoor environment. Human activities are supported by fresh air. If the indoor air is clean, people feel more comfortable and thus their productivity increases. However, air pollutants may also be
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brought into when outside air is contaminated. Pollution sou rces include industrial activities and traffic. Equipment such as Heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) may also contribute air pollutants. Thus, it is important to monitor IAQ with care.

Good ventilation should be supported by natural a nd mechanical ventilation. The former means air supply and removal by natural means. For example, wind flowing through doors and windows is natural ventilation. Mechanical ventilation refers to the use of machines such as HVAC system to displace air.

Airborne contaminants refer to the airborne particles from building materials as well as outdoor activities by human. Common contaminants include carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and suspended particulates. Even very fresh air contains airborne contaminants because they are everywhere and cannot be clear totally. The higher the level of pollutants, the lower is the IAQ. Thus, minimizing contaminants becomes primary issue for enhancement of IAQ. One example for tackling this problem is by filtering and purification, using proper filters and devices in the air exchange system.

Temperature and humidity substantially affect IAQ. These two factors affect the thermal comfort1experienced by occupants. The rate of evaporation as well as heat loss from body depends on temperature and humidity. If the environment is too hot and humid, occupants may feel uncomfortable. As different people have

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Thermal comfort is the condition of mind, which expresses satisfaction with the thermal

environment, but there can be significant individual variation in responses to the thermal environment. 7

different sensation interpretation, it is important to adjust the thermal comfort to satisfy them. It is suggested that relative humidity of an indoor place should be around 40% to 70%.

Observation As shown in figure 2, t here are two windows that can be opened for natural ventilation. From my observation, there is wind breeze flowing through windows for air displacement. They are successful in providing natural ventilation. However, the air quality is not very good. It may be due to the fact that the windows face Pokfulam Road, which has high traffic load at most of the time. Thus, air contaminants are brought into the room through windows.

Mechanical ventilation is provided by air-conditioning system. The type of airconditioner installed is window-mounted type. It supplies cool air from outdoor and removes hot air from indoor. Temperature and humidity are controlled to satisfy occupants by turning on air-conditioner. However, it was observed that when the air-conditioner was turned on for long time, the room became so cold that it had to be adjusted. But it was hard to find a suitable temperature even after a number of adjustments. There is no function to maintain constant temperature, making occupants frustrated.

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Figure 2 Windows in room

Recommendation The major problem in this room is the inefficient mechanical ventilation. It has been suggested by environmental experts that 25 degree Celsius is the most suitable indoor temperature. Thus, it is recommended that air-conditioners which have function for constant temperature adjustment should be installed.

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Lighting system A good visual environment is essential for occupants to carry out visual tasks such as writing and reading.Visual environment mainly depends on lighting system of an indoor space. Light sources provide different amount of light for illumination. Certain amount of light is needed in order to perform visual tasks. If the amount is inappropriate, occupants may feel uncomfortable.Lighting system can be categorized into daylighting and artificial lighting.

Daylighting is sunlight entering the room through window glass. Distribution of light can be directly from the windows or reflection of daylight onto ceiling and then back to the working surface.

Lamps are used for artificial lighting. They act as a supplement of light when there is not enough daylight. At night, it is impossible to carry out visual tasks without using artificial lighting. Commonly, incandescent lamps and fluorescent lamps are the major light sources. Selection of lamps depends on size of room, types of visual tasks, electrical efficiency and other factors.

Observation There are two windows for daylighting. In daytime, it was observed that there was enough lighting to carry out different visual tasks. However, occupants revealed that light source is so strong in early morning that they cannot sleep easily and the sleeping quality is sometimes poor. The use of window blind does not help much because the sunlight is too strong.

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As sh w i th followi

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are rows of twi fluores ent li ht

tu es installed on ceiling to provide artificial lighting. Besides a fluorescent light tu e is also installed on top of a des . It was observed that the artificial light source is quite strong at night. However, the white light provided onto the des produces glare which results in visual discomfort.

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Recommendation To tackle the problem of strong daylight, it is suggested that colour of window glass can be changed to pale green or pale blue. Currently, the window s colour is transparent. If the pale colour is added, it is believed that the light will not be too strong. Sleeping quality of occupants can be enhanced.

Another problem is the glare produced by white light onto desk. It is recommended that incandescent lamps with yellow light can be used to replace the fluorescent lamps. This can solve the problem of glare.

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Sonic environment Sonic environment refers to the acoustic and noise control in a space. There are different noise sources in a given environment. Examples include human talking and road traffic. Room acoustics is the behavioror performance of sound in a room. Reverberation time (RT) serves as an indicator to measure (in second) the drop of loudness to an inaudible level under quiet environment. The optimum RT depends on the use of indoor space. For a residential room, the optimum RT is between 1 and 1.5 seconds.RT can be adjusted by sound absorption and reflection materials.

Observation There is no special sonic requirement in the case. Human talking does not contribute much noise to the environment. However, it was observed that traffic noise was the major noise source. Occupants revealed that traffic noise could affect sleeping quality in mornings.Another problem is the noise emitted from air-conditioner. It was observed that the noise level was quite high when air conditioner was turned on.

Recommendation It is recommended that porous absorber such as fiberglass and open cell foam can be installed to convert sound energy into heat. Th e use of sound absorbers can reduce the traffic noise as well as noise from air-conditioner.

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Conclusion After a deep and thorough investigation, it is found that indoor environment can seriously affect occupants in different ways. If the quality of environment is poor, occupants feel uncomfortable and even sick. In the case of a residential room, they spend most of their time, especially night-time, in the room. They carry out different activities within an indoor space. The quality of indoor environment, i n terms of air, light and sound, is of paramount importance.

A number of problems are discovered in this report. For example, the fluorescent lighting on desk may produce glare, which causes discomfort to occupants. Suggestions are provided to tackle these problems. It is believed that a healthy and comfortable environment should be provided to occupants. Better design schemes should be made so that problems can be rectified in early stages. This can save construction as well as maintenance costs.

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Reference 1. Phillip J. Walsh,Charles S. Dudney,Emily D. Copenhaver (1984), Indoor Air Quality, Florida: CRC Press Inc. 2. Baker, N. & Steemers, K (2002) Daylight design of buildings , London: James & James 3. Mcquiston, F.C., Parker, J.D. & Spitler, J.D. (2005) Heating, ventilating and air conditioning: analysis and design , Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 4. J. Sundell (2004), The history of indoor air quality and health , London: BlackwellMunksgaard

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