Paper Conference

Proceedings of Building Simulation 2021: 17th Conference of IBPSA


Assessing the Impact of Outdoor Air Pollution on Natural Ventilation Potential of Informal Settlements in India

Kopal Nihar, Alex Nutkiewicz, Rishee K. Jain
Urban Informatics Lab, Stanford University, Stanford, USA

Abstract: Natural ventilation (NV) is an effective passive cooling strategy to meet growing energy demands. However, in places with high ambient air pollution, NV can increase the concentrations of air pollutants in the indoor environment leading to adverse occupant health impacts. This problem is particularly important for developing nations in hot-humid climates like India that are forecasting both rising cooling demand and deteriorating air quality in major cities. Here, we propose a modelling approach that integrates highly granular air pollution data with a coupled EnergyPlus and differential equation airflow model to evaluate how NV potential (NVP) for space cooling changes when accounting for exposure to air pollution (PM2.5). We apply our models to a typical residential building representative of informal settlements, in large Indian cities including New Delhi and Bangalore. We chose informal settlements as the basis of our analysis given the high vulnerability of such populations to air pollution and the dearth of the research on the thermal dynamic of this housing type in which 800 mil + people reside worldwide. Our results indicate that outdoor PM2.5 levels have a significant impact on NVP especially in highly polluted cities like New Delhi. Since PM2.5 levels vary across locations and seasons, we conclude that ventilation strategies should be localized based on climate and pollution patterns to optimize occupant comfort and health. Our work points to the synergistic opportunities that exist for reducing both air pollution and energy consumption in informal settlement residential dwellings across major Indian cities. Finally, our work can guide building designers and policymakers to reform building codes for adopting NV and reducing energy demand, based on ambient air quality.
Keywords: Natural ventilation, Air pollution, Informal Settlements, Building energy simulation, Indoor air quality
Pages: 2499 - 2506