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Using a Single-Zone Residential Model to Evaluate Virus Particle Exposure



Stephen Zimmerman, Brian Polidoro, Lisa Ng, William Stuart Dols, Steven Emmerich


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. As noted by ASHRAE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), engineering and other controls should be part of a broader, layered risk reduction strategy that includes hand washing, surface cleaning, social distancing, and reduced occupant density (ASHRAE 2020; CDC 2021). To date, many recommendations for operating buildings during and re-opening them post-pandemic have been based upon limited or no data. Much of the public discussion of re-opening buildings has focused on commercial and institutional buildings in the U.S., but there are almost 20 times more residences in the U.S. than there are commercial buildings. Major questions exist regarding the development of recommendations targeting residences, in part because dwellings can be a major source of virus transmission. To help more people leverage ventilation and filtration in their homes effectively, the authors used the Fate and Transport of Indoor Microbial Particles (FaTIMA) tool to evaluate the effects of ventilation and filtration strategies on particle exposure in homes of various sizes, with different ventilation systems, and with a contagious visitor in the home for various durations. After comparing particle exposure in a set of base cases for all home sizes and ventilation systems, a 297 CADR portable air cleaner was most effective for reducing particle exposure compared to the other mitigation measures simulated (average 45 % reduction in exposure).
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 2234
Report Number


Zimmerman, S. , Polidoro, B. , Ng, L. , Dols, W. and Emmerich, S. (2022), Using a Single-Zone Residential Model to Evaluate Virus Particle Exposure, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed June 18, 2024)


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Created September 20, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022