A decision support tool for evaluating the air quality and wind comfort induced by different opening configurations for buildings in canyons

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16 Citations (Scopus)


This study formulated a new index for evaluating both the air quality and wind comfort induced by building openings at the pedestrian level of street canyons. The air pollutant concentrations and wind velocities induced by building openings were predicted by a series of CFD simulations using ANSYS Fluent software based on standard k-ɛ model. The types of opening configurations investigated inside isolated and non-isolated canyons included separations, voids and permeable elements. It was found that openings with permeability values of 10% were adequate for improving the air quality and wind comfort conditions for pedestrians after considering the reduction in development floor areas. Openings were effective in improving the air quality in isolated canyons and different types of opening configurations were suggested for different street aspect ratios. On the contrary, openings were not always found effective for non-isolated canyons if there were pollutant sources in adjacent street canyons. As such, it would also be recommended introducing openings to adjacent canyons along with openings to the target canyons. The formulated index can help city planners and building designers to strike an optimal balance between air quality and wind comfort for pedestrians when designing and planning buildings inside urban streets and thus promoting urban environmental sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-582
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Air quality
  • Building openings
  • Street Air-Wind Index
  • Street canyons
  • Wind comfort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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