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An energy efficient approach for radon management in a HVAC environment: executive summary

By Wai Sang Samuel Chan

Abstract

Radioactive radon gas, after being released from rocks, soils and building structures, can pose a significant health threat to the building occupants. This is of particular concern in tight HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning) serviced buildings where there is re-circulating air with limited fresh air intake. A thorough survey was initiated at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in 1996 and results indicate a radon average concentration of 107 Bq/m3, which is approximately 50% of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) recommended standard (200 Bq/m3). About 10% of the measurements were in excess of this WHO limit, while 46% of the samples also showed average peak radon concentrations (264 Bq/m3) in excess of this WHO limit.\ud \ud To overcome these elevated indoor radon concentrations, their characteristics at HKUST was studied. Radon level was found to increase linearly as a function of the length of the HVAC shut off period, and decrease exponentially upon system resumption. Radon level predictive models were developed after a series of room chamber experiments with modification factors defined to account for the indoor sinks in an effort to enhance the accuracy and applicability of the models.\ud \ud Following a campus-wide energy audit, two energy efficient radon management approaches were derived from the predictive models and were subsequently integrated into the existing HKUST operations. The first was defined as an Active Radon Control Approach (ARCA), where HVAC operation schedules were modified to yield an energy saving potential of around HK$2.7 Million a year. ARCA is optimised to reduce the radon dose to the HKUST occupants following the radiation protection principle of "As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA)", and with considerations of economical and operational constraints.\ud \ud The other was a Passive Radon Control Approach (PRCA) using Polyurethane-based (P-u) paint to cover building material surfaces to reduce the radon emission

Topics: TP
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2705

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