Valuing the health benefits of improving indoor air quality in residences

Chi Kwan Chau, W. K. Hui, M. S. Tse

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Unlike commercial premises, the indoor air quality of residences is more dynamic, uncontrolled, and prone to human behavioral changes. In consequence, measuring the health benefit gains derived from improving indoor air quality in residences is more complicated. To overcome this, a human thermal comfort model was first integrated with indoor microenvironment models, and subsequently linked with appropriate concentration-response and economic data for estimating the economic benefit gains derived from improving indoor air quality in residences for an adult and an elderly person. In this study, the development of the model is illustrated by using a typical residential apartment locating at the worst air quality neighborhood in Hong Kong and the daily weather profiles between 2002 and 2006. Three types of personal intervention measures were examined in the study: (i) using air cleaner in residence, (ii) changing time spent in residence, and (iii) relocating to a better air quality neighborhood. Our results revealed that employing air cleaners with windows closed in residence throughout the entire year was the most beneficial measure as it could provide the greatest annual health benefit gains. It would give a maximum of HK$2072 in 5-year cumulative benefit gain for an adult and HK$1700 for an elderly person. Employing air cleaners with windows closed in only cool season (October through March) could give the highest marginal return per dollar spent. The benefit gains would become smaller when windows were opened to a greater extent. By contrast, relocating to a better air quality neighborhood and changing the time spent in residence did not appeal to be beneficial intervention measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume394
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008

Keywords

  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Indoor air quality
  • Intervention measures
  • Residential buildings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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