Multi-zonal air flow rates in residences in Boston, Massachusetts

Robin E. Dodson, Jonathan I. Levy, James P. Shine, John D. Spengler, Deborah H Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In spite of the importance of interzonal air flow for indoor air quality assessment, few studies have characterized these flows. As part of the Boston Exposure Assessment in Microenvironments (BEAM) Study, air flow rates were estimated within 45 residences in the Boston area, most over two seasons. Thirty-five residences had basements, 11 of which also had attached garages, and 10 other residences had common apartment hallways. Air flow rates between zones were calculated using tracer gases (PFTs and SF6) and mass-balance models. Mean air flow rates from the basement to the occupied zone were significantly higher in the winter (174 m3 h-1) than in the summer (67 m3 h-1). The mean percent of the total air flow within the occupied zone of the residence from the basement was 26% (SD=34%) in the summer and 47% (SD=26%) in the winter while the mean percent from apartment hallways was 22% (SD=33%). Residences with garages attached to the basement had higher air flow rates to the adjacent zone (means from 50 to 887 m3 h-1) than those with garages attached directly to the occupied zone (means from 1 to 65 m3 h-1). These data provide a basis for modeling the contribution of indoor sources to concentrations in occupied zones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3722-3727
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number17
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Air flow rates
  • Apartment
  • Attached garages
  • Basement
  • Mass-balance model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution


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