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Journal of Building Engineering ; 71, 2023.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2291734


Addressing indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort issues in school buildings is challenging but relevant. Firstly, their primary occupants are more vulnerable than adults. Secondly, school buildings are often inadequate being too old or designed to prioritise energy-efficiency targets. Thirdly, occupants have often little control over the indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Lastly, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic highlighted the complexity and vulnerability of existing decision-making processes in relation to making timely and well-informed decisions about IEQ threats. Standards and guidelines vary over time and among similar countries despite targeting similar occupants, evaluate IAQ and thermal comfort independently, and do not include any specific adaptations to children. Thus, the aim of this research is to compare different available standards to evaluate IAQ and thermal comfort in school buildings. By analysing with different standards (EN16798, BB101, and ASHRAE 55 and 62.1) the data collected in schools in northern Italy, this research evaluated the consequences of different limits and approaches, and proposed improvements. The conclusions are that (i) thresholds and methods inconsistency within the same standard should be avoided;(ii) upper- and lower-bounded operative temperature scales are the most appropriate means to design and verify thermal comfort in classrooms;(iii) IAQ metrics that give an upper limit per a certain amount of consecutive time might prevent the build-up of indoor pollutants, even with high emissions from the building fabric;(iv) no standard proposes a combined IAQ and thermal comfort analysis which could enable more informed trade-off decisions considering IAQ, thermal comfort, and energy targets. © 2023 The Authors

51st International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering, Internoise 2022 ; 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2284369


Sexual well-being is a fundamental facet of the overall well-being of most individuals and implies the ability to have safe and pleasurable sexual experiences, beyond the absence of disease or disturbance. The extent to which people can achieve sexual well-being depends, among other aspects, on whether they live in an environment that promotes and support it. The present study focuses on the unexplored impacts of the perceived acoustic environment (i.e., the soundscape) on human sexual activity carried out in domestic settings. Verbal descriptions have been gathered from open-ended questions included in a survey administered to 848 respondents living in the UK (London area) and in Italy in January 2021 during the COVID-19 lockdown. Thematic analysis was used to extract a framework detailing the positive and negative impacts of the acoustic environment on sexual activity. The results show the mechanisms by which the acoustic features of the environment can impact on the sexual experience in terms of privacy, distraction, disruption or support, up to trigger coping strategies (e.g., controlling windows, playing music) and behavioural changes (e.g., lowering the volume of the voice) that can in turn limit or enhance the freedom of sexual behaviour, affect or foster sexual well-being. © 2022 Internoise 2022 - 51st International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering. All rights reserved.

8th International Building Physics Conference, IBPC 2021 ; 2069, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1598757


Data from an online survey conducted in January 2021 by 464 participants living in London and working from home (WFH) after the COVID-19 outbreak were analysed, focusing on: (1) types of building services at home, (2) perceived sound dominance of building services, and (3) the perception of the indoor acoustic environment (i.e. the indoor soundscape) in relation to two main activities, i.e. WFH and relaxation. Results show that most of participants' houses had radiators for heating and relied on window opening for ventilation and cooling. Air systems (e.g., HVAC systems) resulted in higher perceived dominance compared to other systems, but only when evaluated for WFH. Sound dominance from building services was in turn related to soundscape evaluation. Spaces with less dominant sounds from building services were more appropriate for both WFH and relaxation, and spaces with fewer dominant sounds were assessed better, but just for WFH. Participants' evaluations generally did not differ according to building service typology. The presence of air-cooling systems was associated with better perceived sound environments, most likely due to better acoustics conditions in newly built or retrofitted dwellings, more probably equipped with air cooling systems. Preliminary findings point out the importance of carefully considering the dominance of sounds by building services, especially for air systems, in relation to traditional and new uses of residential buildings. © 2021 Institute of Physics Publishing. All rights reserved.