One in five persons in Germany suffers from a pollen allergy. During pollen season, the question of how to air rooms without triggering allergies constantly arises. A team at the Professorship of Ecoclimatology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) systematically investigated pollen concentrations in office spaces and derived practical tips for airing rooms from the data.
During their investigations, the authors concentrated on birch pollen, as it triggers allergic reactions with particular frequency, as does grass pollen. (Photo: TUM/ B. Wankerl)
According to the 2013 issue of the German Federal Health Gazette, around 15 to 20 percent of the population in Germany suffers from hay fever. Because Europeans and North Americans spend over 90 percent of their time in closed rooms, pollen concentrations in buildings need to be taken into account. In addition to meteorological factors, the type and frequency of room ventilation was also taken into account in the study published in the specialist journal “Indoor Air”.
During their investigations, the authors concentrated on birch pollen, as it triggers allergic reactions with particular frequency, as does grass pollen. Birches are ‘colonizers’ (pioneer plants), which means that they begin with their reproduction phase early. As wind-pollinated plants, they produce particularly large amounts of pollen, which results in their high potential for causing allergies.
For the study, birch pollen concentrations were measured in five different rooms and in front of the adjacent windows in April 2015. Among other things, the rooms differed in how they were aired or ventilated.
The mobile pollen traps were placed at a height of 1.2 meters, which corresponds to the average height at which a person breathes when working at their desk. They were located at a distance of 2.5 meters from the corresponding room window. A second pollen trap was attached to each of the window sills.
Furthermore, a standard Burkard…