Respiratory infection risk-based ventilation design method

Jarek Kurnitski, Martin Kiil*, Pawel Wargocki, Atze Boerstra, Olli Seppänen, Bjarne Olesen, Lidia Morawska

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)
    62 Downloads (Pure)


    A new design method is proposed to calculate outdoor air ventilation rates to control respiratory infection risk in indoor spaces. We propose to use this method in future ventilation standards to complement existing ventilation criteria based on the perceived air quality and pollutant removal. The proposed method makes it possible to calculate the required ventilation rate at a given probability of infection and quanta emission rate. Present work used quanta emission rates for SARS-CoV-2 and consequently the method can be applied for other respiratory viruses with available quanta data. The method was applied to case studies representing typical rooms in public buildings. To reduce the probability of infection, the total airflow rate per infectious person revealed to be the most important parameter to reduce the infection risk. Category I ventilation rate prescribed in the EN 16798-1 standard satisfied many but not all type of spaces examined. The required ventilation rates started from about 80 L/s per room. Large variations between the results for the selected case studies made it impossible to provide a simple rule for estimating the required ventilation rates. Consequently, we conclude that to design rooms with a low infection risk the newly developed ventilation design method must be used.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number108387
    Number of pages11
    JournalBuilding and Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Airborne pathogens
    • COVID-19
    • Design method
    • Event reproduction number
    • Quanta emission
    • Respiratory infection
    • Ventilation criteria
    • Ventilation standards


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