Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Analysis of carbon dioxide levels in a mechanically ventilated college classroom Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9c67ws03q

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  • Poor air quality can result in reduced productivity and higher absenteeism in students, fatigue, eye, nose and throat irritation and reduced comfort. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 2 million education employees work in areas with poor indoor air quality. The measurement of carbon dioxide often is used as a surrogate for defining adequate ventilation. Comfort (odor) criteria are maintained when carbon dioxide levels are below 1,000 parts per million (ppm). The purpose of this study was to investigate a mechanically ventilated college classroom and to determine if carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels present a potential health risk to students. The following conclusions were drawn from this study. A strong association between occupancy numbers and CO₂ levels was found. Higher peak CO₂ levels occurred when more students were in attendance. Rate-of-Rise (ROR) was strongly correlated to the number of persons occupying the auditorium. This correlation held true when calculated for 10 minute, 20 minute and 30 minute ROR. As occupancy numbers increased, ROR also increased. ROR analysis was also found to be sensitive to previous occupancy numbers and more variance was explained when previous occupancy numbers were added in. CO₂ levels exceeded the proposed OSHA regulations of 800 ppm 14 times during the study and exceeded ASHRAE's 1,000 ppm guidance four times. When CO₂ levels did peak above 800 ppm limit, these levels were quickly reduced to ambient levels within a short period after class egress. Although these CO₂ levels would not be expected to cause adverse health effects to persons using this auditorium, two episodes did occur when occupants were visibly uncomfortable from poor air quality conditions in the auditorium. One situation was due to the ventilation system being improperly in nonoccupancy mode, and the second situation occurred when a new screen was installed in the auditorium. Finally, even though, the average occupancy number was less than half the capacity of the auditorium peak CO₂ levels in ECE, on occasion, did exceed those recommended by OSHA and ASHRAE which suggests that if the auditorium was filled to capacity, CO₂ levels would be considerably higher than those found during this study.
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