Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 773–782 | Cite as

Analysis of CO2 monitoring data demonstrates poor ventilation rates in Albanian schools during the cold season

  • Otto Hänninen
  • Nuno Canha
  • Alexandra V. Kulinkina
  • Ilir Dume
  • Agron Deliu
  • Elida Mataj
  • Arben Lusati
  • Michal Krzyzanowski
  • Andrey I. Egorov


Poor ventilation in schools is associated with accumulation of indoor-generated pollutants, which is associated with “stuffy” air, elevated risk of infectious diseases and impaired learning outcomes. This survey in Albania was conducted as part of WHO’s efforts to facilitate assessments of indoor air quality and other environmental factors in schools in the European Region. The survey was conducted in 36 classrooms in 12 middle schools (eight urban and four rural) from December 2011 through March 2012. In each school, carbon dioxide (CO2) was continuously measured in three classrooms during one school week. Ventilation rates during classes were estimated using the build-up and steady-state mass balance equations utilizing CO2 concentration data, classroom occupancy and classroom volume. All 12 schools had gravimetric ventilation systems. Heating systems were absent or not operational in most schools. Average classroom temperatures during lessons varied from 9.1 to 14.4 °C (median 11.7 °C) with lower temperature associated with poorer ventilation. Weekly average CO2 levels during classes ranged from 1286 to 5546 ppm (median 2776 ppm) while average ventilation rates ranged from 0.8 to 3.6 (median 1.8) litres per second per person. Classrooms with indoor combustion heaters had higher indoor temperature, lower CO2 levels and higher levels of carbon monoxide (CO). WHO guidelines on 1- and 8-h CO exposure levels were exceeded in one classroom. Classroom CO2 levels were substantially above and ventilation rates below existing national and international guidelines. Detrimental impacts of poor ventilation on health and learning outcomes are likely to be substantial in Albanian schools during the cold season. Indoor temperature in most classrooms was below the commonly recommended levels.


Schools Classrooms Indoor air quality Ventilation Carbon dioxide Carbon monoxide 



This work was co-funded by the participating institutes and World Health Organization. O. Hänninen was supported by Academy of Finland Contract 133792 (PMSizex) for the mathematical part of mass balance re-analysis and N. Canha by the Postdoc grant SFRH/BPD/102944/2014 from the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT, Portugal). The FCT support is also gratefully acknowledged by C2TN/IST and CESAM’s author (through the UID/Multi/04349/2013 project and through the CESAM’s strategic programme UID/AMB/50017/2013).

Compliance with ethical standards


The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this publication.


  1. ASHRAE (2007a) ASTM D6245-07 Standard guide for using indoor carbon dioxide concentrations to evaluate indoor air quality and ventilation. (accessed on 22 January 2017)
  2. ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.) (2007b) ASHREA Standard 62.1-2007. Ventilation for acceptable indoor air quality. United States: Atlanta, GA. (accessed on 22 January 2017)
  3. Bakó-Biró Z, Clements-Croome DJ, Kochhar N, Awbi HB, Williams MJ (2012) Ventilation rates in schools and pupils’ performance. Build Environ 48:215–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Csobod E, Annesi-Maesano I, Carrer P, Kephalopoulos S, Madureira J, Rudnai P et al. (2014) SINPHONIE: Schools Indoor Pollution & Health Observatory Network in Europe. Final Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union (accessed on 23 March 2015)
  5. Daisey JM, Angell WJ, Apte MG (2003) Indoor air quality, ventilation and health symptoms in schools: an analysis of existing information. Indoor Air 13:53–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. d’Ambrosio Alfano FR, Bellia L, Boerstra A, van Dijken F, Ianniello E, Lopardo G, Minichiello F, Romagnoni P, da Silva MCG (2010) Indoor environment and energy efficiency in schools. Part 1. Principles. REHVA (Federation of European Heating, Ventilationa nd Air-conditioning Association, BrusseslGoogle Scholar
  7. Dols, WS, and Persily, AK (1994) A study of ventilation measurement in an office building. Standard Technical Publication 1255. ASTM, West Conshocken, PAGoogle Scholar
  8. Hänninen O (2013) Novel second degree solution to single zone mass-balance equation improves the use of build-up data in estimating ventilation rates in classrooms. J Chem Health Saf 20(2):14–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hänninen O, Shaughnessy R, Turk B, Egorov A (2012) Combining CO2 data from ventilation phases improves estimation of air exchange rates. Proceedings of Healthy Buildings Conference, Brisbane, July 8–12, 2012Google Scholar
  10. Haverinen-Shaughnessy U, Moschandreas D, Shaughnessy R (2011) Association between substandard classroom ventilation rates and students’ academic achievement. Indoor Air 21(2):121–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Locher WG (2007) Max von Pettenkofer (1818–1901) as a pioneer of modern hygiene and preventive medicine. Environ Health Prev Med 12(6):238–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Michelot N, Marchand C, Ramalho O, Delmas V, Carrega M (2013) Monitoring indoor air quality in French schools and day-care centres. HVAC&R Research 19:1083–1089CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mudarri DH (1997) Potential correction factors for interpreting CO2 measurements in buildings. (Paper 4076). ASHRAE Transactions. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers, Inc., Atlanta, 244–255Google Scholar
  14. Mumford JL, Williams RW, Walsh DB, Burton RM, Svendsgaard DJ, Chuang JC, Houk VS, Lewtas J (1991) Indoor air pollutants from unvented kerosene heater emissions in mobile homes: studies on particles, semivolatile organics, carbon monoxide, and mutagenicity. Environ Sci Technol 25(10):1732–1738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Satish U, Mendel M, Sekhar K, Hotchi T, Sullivan D, Streufert S, Fisk W (2012) Is CO2 an indoor pollutant? Direct effects of low-to-moderate CO2 concentrations on human decision-making performance. Environ Health Perspect 120:1671–1677Google Scholar
  16. Silva S, Monteiro A, Russo MA, Valente J, Alves C, Nunes T, Pio C, Miranda AI (2016) Modelling indoor air quality: validation and sensitivity. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health. doi: 10.1007/s11869-016-0458-4 Google Scholar
  17. UBA (Umweltbundesamt) (2008) Leitfaden für die Innenraumhygiene in Schulgebäuden [Guideline of indoor hygiene in school buildings]. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt. (accessed on 24 January 2017)
  18. Wålinder R, Norbäck D, Wieslander G, Smedje G, Erwall C, Venge P (1998) Nasal patency and biomarkers in nasal lavage: the significance of air exchange rate and type of ventilation in schools. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 71:479–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. WHO (2009) Guidelines for indoor air quality: dampness and mould. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe. (accessed on 22 January 2017)
  20. WHO (2010a) Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health “Protecting children’s health in a changing environment”. Parma declaration on environment and health. Parma, Italy, 2010. EUR/55934/5.1 Rev. 2. (accessed on 22 January 2017)
  21. WHO (2010b) Guidelines for indoor air quality: selected pollutants. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe. (accessed on 22 January 2017)
  22. WHO (2010c) Tools for the monitoring of Parma Conference commitments. Report of a meeting, Bonn, Germany, 25–26 November 2010. (accessed on 22 January 2017)
  23. WHO (2011) Methods for monitoring indoor air quality in schools: report of a meeting. Bonn, Germany, 4–5 April 2011. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe ( (accessed on 22 January 2017)
  24. WHO (2015) The school environment—policies and current status. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe. (accessed on 22 January 2017)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)KuopioFinland
  2. 2.Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade de LisboaBobadela LRSPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Environment and Planning, CESAM–Centre for Environmental and Marine StudiesUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  4. 4.Tufts University School of EngineeringMedfordUSA
  5. 5.National Public Health InstituteTiranaAlbania
  6. 6.World Health Organization, European Centre for Environment and HealthBonnGermany
  7. 7.King’s College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations