Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Simple Techniques for Assessing Airflow in Occupied Spaces

Jeff Burton is a treasure to our profession.  He wrote a piece on ventilation earlier this year and published it in the AIHA Synergist.  I found it to be incredibly valuable.  On the chance that you did not see it, I am reproducing part of it below with his permission.  It is a trove of practical advice born from a lifetime of experience  and a great resource for any practising IH.

One thing the Jeff did not mention but that I think is important is that much of this can be used for exposure modelling input.

I am reproducing the first few paragraph of the article below.  If you are a member of AIHA, you can go to the online version in the Synergist to get it in all its glory at:

If you are not a member, and you want it for your personal use, you can send me a request ( and I will send you the original MS Word document that Jeff sent to me. 


Six Ways to Approximate Airflow

Simple Techniques for Assessing Airflow in Occupied Spaces

By D. Jeff Burton

Every occupational health and safety professional must be able to evaluate the air the occupants of a space are experiencing to assess the potential for IAQ problems and their solutions.

Most OHS professionals today are unable to conduct in-depth testing or measurement of HVAC systems and their airflows. Specialized knowledge of testing, measurement, and balancing is often required on the complex systems of today. Industrial hygiene engineers or TAB (testing, adjusting, and balancing) specialists can be employed to make detailed measurements. However, an OHS professional can often gather enough simple information to quickly provide approximate answers to questions about airflow in a space, regardless of the complexity of the system.

This article provides guidelines for simple testing, measurements, and approximations an OHS professional might perform. These include temperature and humidity; air movement and distribution, outdoor air flowrates, and air exchange rates in the occupied space; concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air; and the effects of wind on the airflow through a building.

The following equipment is needed to perform the simple tests and measurements described in this article: tape measure, thermometer, psychrometer, smoke tubes, and carbon dioxide monitor.


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