Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Laboratory
The IEQ Laboratory has been set up in the Department for teaching, research and consultancy projects. Over the years, a wide spectrum of instruments, equipment and test facilities have been purchased or developed. They include a number of infrared gas analyzers for building ventilation / infiltration rate measurements, Bruel and Kjaer thermal comfort meters, toxic gas monitors covering CO, SOx, NOx, ozone, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOC) monitors and analyzers, particulate matter monitors, radon monitors, multiple sets of mobile mini weather stations, particle image velocimetry (PIV) system and Bruel and Kjaer sound analyzers. Test facilities developed include small size chambers and a room size stainless chamber for testing building material radon emission and VOC emissions, and gas-phase filtration test rig for studying filtration in air-conditioning systems.
The Department research focuses on evaluating the environmental conditions found inside buildings. The Department recently completed a large scale in-office stud covering the measurement of thermal comfort, indoor air quality, noise and lighting. The extensive database obtained is useful in determining the optimum design criteria for indoor environments. Several prototypes for logging indoor environmental parameters have been developed. These can monitor continuously the physical environment and subjective responses of occupants.
The work continues with measurement of ventilation system performance. A measurement methodology for evaluating ventilation performance in large office spaces has been developed based on monitoring metabolic carbon dioxide, tracer gas decay and air flow measurements. Studies on indoor air pollution targets those pollutants which are of most concern locally: radon, biological, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds.
The noise and lighting surveys reveal very useful information for enhancing the design of open plan offices. Research on noise control, standard testing of sound power, sound absorption, flow noise and office noise characteristics are in progress.
The test rigs in this laboratory are mostly portable, comprising various gas analysers, temperature, humidity and air flow sensors, etc., for measurements in occupied spaces, on air-side systems, etc.. Test rigs have been developed for the evaluation of thermal comfort, indoor air quality and ventilation performance.