Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air pollution, gone with the wind: Proposed new building guidelines to clean up the air we breath

Date:
November 1, 2012
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
As urban populations expand, downtown buildings are going nowhere but up. The huge energy needs of these skyscrapers mean that these towers are not only office buildings, they're polluters with smokestacks billowing out toxins from the rooftop. Our cities are dirtier than we think. New research just might clean them up.

As urban populations expand, downtown buildings are going nowhere but up. The huge energy needs of these skyscrapers mean that these towers are not only office buildings, they’re polluters with smokestacks billowing out toxins from the rooftop.
Credit: Image courtesy of Concordia University

As urban populations expand, downtown buildings are going nowhere but up. The huge energy needs of these skyscrapers mean that these towers are not only office buildings, they're polluters with smokestacks billowing out toxins from the rooftop. Our cities are dirtier than we think. New research from Concordia University just might clean them up.

By examining the trajectory and amount of air pollution from a building to its neighbours downwind, Concordia researchers Ted Stathopoulos and Bodhisatta Hajra have come up with environmentally friendly building guidelines for our modern cities. This provides a much-needed update to the industry standards developed decades ago by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers -- the international technical society that sets the rules for building ventilation.

Stathopoulos -- a professor in Concordia's Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering -- partnered with emerging researcher and recent Concordia graduate Hajra to pen the study, recently featured in the peer-reviewed journal, Building and Environment. To perform the research, they hunkered down in Concordia's cutting-edge wind tunnel laboratory, a huge underground research facility which allows engineers to test the atmospheric dispersion of pollution and toxins in any given setting.

"We created model configurations consisting of buildings of various sizes and shapes," says Stathopoulos, an inveterate researcher who was awarded the Davenport Medal by the International Association for Wind Engineering in September 2012.

Hajra, who received his doctorate during Concordia's fall convocation on October 30, goes on to explain: "we then placed our models downwind of a building that was emitting toxins to trace the path from polluter to polluted. That allowed us to see how much pollution was being absorbed by buildings downwind and where on those buildings that pollution was most concentrated."

Their findings show that the process by which air pollution spreads from one building's exhaust stack to another's intake is affected by the height and spacing between buildings, something that can be optimized by architects and engineers as new towers are constructed.

What does this mean for the future of downtown buildings? "We came up with three main guidelines for the placement of stack and intake in order to minimize the amount of air pollution that makes its way into downwind buildings," says Stathopoulos.

First, intake vents on buildings downwind of a polluter need to be placed upwind of that building's stack, and closer to its more sheltered wall. Second, air intakes should not be placed on rooftop locations downwind of a low stack and the protected wall of the emitting building. Lastly, increased spacing between buildings can reduce the possibility that pollutants from one will be re-ingested by another.

"While our research may not reduce the amount of outdoor pollution in our cities," explains Stathopoulos, "it can certainly help ensure that this same dirty air is not re-circulated indoors."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Hajra, T. Stathopoulos. A wind tunnel study of the effect of downstream buildings on near-field pollutant dispersion. Building and Environment, 2012; 52: 19 DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2011.12.021

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Air pollution, gone with the wind: Proposed new building guidelines to clean up the air we breath." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101131607.htm>.
Concordia University. (2012, November 1). Air pollution, gone with the wind: Proposed new building guidelines to clean up the air we breath. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101131607.htm
Concordia University. "Air pollution, gone with the wind: Proposed new building guidelines to clean up the air we breath." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121101131607.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins