Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 643–652 | Cite as

Modelling indoor air quality: validation and sensitivity

  • S. Silva
  • A. Monteiro
  • M. A. Russo
  • J. Valente
  • C. Alves
  • T. Nunes
  • C. Pio
  • A. I. Miranda


The main objective of this work is to extend the knowledge of indoor air quality by using a numerical tool to calculate the concentrations of pollutants in the indoor air of a classroom. The application of a numerical model allowed to quantitatively assess the impact of several proposed improvement measures, through the simulation of scenarios.

The numerical model CONTAM was used to characterise the indoor air quality in a classroom of an elementary school, in terms of concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. The results of the CONTAM simulations were compared to measurements performed during monitoring campaigns (SINPHONIE project). The simulated and measured carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations inside the classroom are in good agreement. Furthermore, for particulate matter, simulated values show a significant difference from measured values, which are higher overall. With the goal of maximising the indoor air quality of the classroom, several alternative scenarios were simulated. The door and windows of the classroom were opened or closed at different times for each scenario. The scenario promoting the best indoor air quality (i.e. with the lowest concentrations of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide) is the one in which the door is only open to allow students to get in and out of the room, and the window is kept half-open during the entire day.


Indoor air quality Modelling CONTAM Schools Human health 



Thanks are due, for the financial support, to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017), to FCT/MEC through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007638), within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. The authors are also grateful to the Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO) for funding the SINPHONIE project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CESAM, Department of Environment and PlanningUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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