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The design of safe classrooms of educational buildings for facing contagions and transmission of diseases: A novel approach combining audits, calibrated energy models, building performance (BPS) and computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations

  • Ascione, Fabrizio1
  • De Masi, Rosa Francesca2
  • Mastellone, Margherita1
  • Vanoli, Giuseppe Peter3
  • 1 Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Department of Industrial Engineering, Piazzale Tecchio 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy
  • 2 Università degli Studi del Sannio, Department of Engineering, Piazza Roma 21, 82100 Benevento, Italy
  • 3 Università degli Studi del Molise, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences Vincenzo Tiberio, Via Gazzani 47, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Published Article
Energy and Buildings
Elsevier B.V.
Publication Date
Oct 08, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.110533
PMID: 33052169
PMCID: PMC7543903
PubMed Central


The proposed investigation is aimed at providing useful suggestions and guidelines for the renovation of educational buildings, in order to do University classrooms safe and sustainable indoor places, with respect to the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic. Classrooms and common spaces have to be thought again, for a new “in-presence” life, after the recent worldwide emergency following the spring 2020 pandemic diffusion of COVID-19. In this paper, starting from a real case study, and thus the architectural and technological refurbishment of an Italian University building (Campobasso, South Italy, cold climate), with the aims of improving the classrooms’ quality and safety, a comprehensive approach for the retrofit design is proposed. By taking into account the necessary come back to classrooms starting, hopefully, from the next months (Autumn 2020), experimental studies (monitoring and investigations of the current energy performances) are followed by the coupling of different numerical methods of investigations, and thus building performance simulations, under transient conditions of heat transfer, and computational fluid dynamics studies, to evidence criticalities and potentialities to designers involved in the re-thinking of indoor spaces hosting multiple persons, with quite high occupancy patterns. Both energy impacts, in terms of monthly and annual increase of energy demands due to higher mechanical ventilation, and indoor distribution of microclimatic parameters (i.e., temperature, airspeed, age of air) are here investigated, by proposing new scenarios and evidencing the usefulness of HVAC systems, equipment (e.g., sensible heat recovery, without flows’ contamination) and suitability of some strategies for the air distribution systems (ceiling squared and linear slot diffusers) compared to traditional ones.

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