While the impacts of climate change on wildfires and resulting air pollution levels have been observed, little is known about how indoor air filtering systems are performing under intensive smoke conditions. For this aim, particle number size distribution and concentration in a size range 0.5–18 μm and equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentration were measured in a modern office with a mechanical ventilation system. Measurements took place from 30 September to 6 October 2020 in the Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (FTMC) campus located in the urban background environment in Lithuania. During the measurement campaign, an intensive pollution episode, related to long-range transport wildfire smoke, was observed. The results indicated that the smoke event increased both indoor and outdoor eBC mass concentrations twice. Filters were non-selective for different eBC sources (biomass burning versus traffic) or chemical composition of carbonaceous aerosol particles (eBC versus brown carbon (BrC)). Air filtering efficiency was found to be highly dependent on particle size. During the smoke event the highest particle number concentration was observed at 2.1 μm and 1.0 μm size particles in outdoor and indoor air, respectively. Differences of indoor to outdoor ratio between event and non-event days were not significant. Because of lower removal rate for small particles, eBC had higher contribution to total PM2.5 mass concentration in indoor air than in outdoor air. The results gained are crucial for decision-making bodies in order to implement higher-quality air-filtering systems in office buildings and, as a result, minimize potential health impacts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Air quality
- Emission source contribution
- Indoor air
- Source apportionment