Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Impact of weather conditions and building design on contaminant infiltration from crawl spaces in Swedish schools—Numerical modeling using Monte Carlo method


airtightness, air permeability, Monte Carlo method, infiltration model, crawl space, indoor air quality


Some Swedish school buildings built in the 1960s and 1970s experience indoor air quality problems, where the contaminants are suspected to come from the crawl space underneath the building. The poor indoor air quality causes discomfort among pupils and teachers. Installing an exhaust fan to maintain a negative pressure difference in the crawl space relative to indoors or increasing the ventilation in the classroom are two examples of common measures taken to improve the indoor air quality. However, these measures are not always effective, and sometimes the school building has to be demolished. The relation between pressure distribution, contaminant concentration in the classroom, outdoor temperature, wind, mechanical ventilation, and air leakage distribution is complex. A better understanding of these relations is crucial for making decisions on the most efficient measure to improve the indoor air quality. In this paper, a model for contaminant infiltration from the crawl space is used together with the Monte Carlo method to study these relations. Simulations are performed for several cases where different building shapes, building orientations, shielding conditions, and geographical locations are simulated. Results show, for example, that for a building with an imbalanced ventilation system, air is leaking from the crawl space to the classroom for the majority of cases and that concentration levels in the classroom are usually the highest during mild and calm days.