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Carbon Dioxide Generation Rates for Building Occupants



Andrew K. Persily, Lilian de Jonge


Indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have been used for decades to characterize building ventilation and indoor air quality. Many of these applications require estimates of CO2 generation rates from the building occupants, which are currently based on approaches and data that are several decades old. However, CO2 generation rates derive from well-established concepts within the fields of human metabolism and exercise physiology, which relate these rates to body size and composition, sex, diet and levels of physical activity. This paper reviews how CO2 generation rate have been estimated in the past and how they can more reliably be characterized based on considerations of human metabolism. Based on this information, the estimation of CO2 generation rates from building occupants is described, including the values and the variability that might exist in a building population. The implications of this information for ventilation and IAQ standards and field studies are also described.
Indoor Air


Carbon dioxide, human metabolism, indoor air quality, standards, ventilation


Persily, A. and de, L. (2016), Carbon Dioxide Generation Rates for Building Occupants, Indoor Air, [online], (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created April 18, 2016, Updated August 22, 2017