A method to estimate the amount of CO2 generated by building occupants since the early 1980s may be off by as much as 25%.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and George Mason University say the old formula relies on old data and a method lacking scientific documentation. To help address the problem, the researchers developed a new computation method that uses well-established concepts from the study of human metabolism and exercise physiology.
The new method relates CO2 generation rates to body size and composition, diet, and level of physical activity. Researchers say this results in more accurate estimates of the CO2 generated by individuals, and by extension, an improved estimate of the concentration produced by a building’s entire occupant population.
Measurements of indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are used to evaluate indoor air quality. CO2 metrics are strongly linked to the levels of contaminants, such as gases and particles, circulating in the air. This information can be used to control ventilation, which helps clean the air, and can reduce the need for heating and cooling.