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Article

Fungal Contaminants in Energy Efficient Dwellings: Impact of Ventilation Type and Level of Urbanization

1
Department of Occupational Health and Environment, Center for Primary Care and Public Health (Unisanté), University of Lausanne, CH-1066 Epalinges, Switzerland
2
Human-Oriented Built Environment Lab, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
3
HumanTech Institute, School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg, HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
4
TOXpro SA, CH-1227 Geneva, Switzerland
5
Transform Institute, School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg, HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, CH-1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 4936; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17144936
Received: 14 May 2020 / Revised: 30 June 2020 / Accepted: 2 July 2020 / Published: 8 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health Outcomes in Energy-Efficient Buildings)
The presence of growing fungi in the indoor environment has been associated with the development of respiratory problems such as asthma or allergic rhinitis, as well as the worsening of respiratory pathologies. Their proliferation indoors could be a result of water leakage or inadequate ventilation. Although the factors promoting mould growth have been widely investigated in traditional dwellings, little work has been done in energy efficient dwellings. Here, the effectiveness of ventilation type, i.e., natural or mechanical, in influencing mould development was estimated in 44 recent and 105 retrofitted energy efficient dwellings. Fungi growing on surfaces were investigated in the dwellings situated in rural, peri-urban, and urban regions of Switzerland. The presence of these fungi was also investigated in bedroom settled dust. Information on building characteristics and owners’ lifestyle were collected. Significant associations were found with the level of urbanisation, the location of mouldy area in dwellings, and the diversity of fungal taxa. Dwellings in peri-urban zones showed the most frequent fungal contamination in the owners’ bedroom and the highest diversity of fungal genera among dwellings. While the urbanisation level or the ventilation type favoured no specific genus, we found marked disparities in the diversity of fungi growing on surfaces in naturally ventilated versus mechanically ventilated dwellings. Aspergillus, in particular, was a frequent surface contaminant in bedrooms with natural ventilation, but not in those mechanically ventilated. We observed a strong association between fungal growth on surfaces and the number of fungal particles counted in the settled dust of owners’ bedrooms. These results demonstrate the importance of ventilation systems in energy efficient dwellings in controlling fungal proliferation in living areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: home environment; visible moulds; ventilation type; geographic location; settled dust home environment; visible moulds; ventilation type; geographic location; settled dust
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MDPI and ACS Style

Niculita-Hirzel, H.; Yang, S.; Hager Jörin, C.; Perret, V.; Licina, D.; Goyette Pernot, J. Fungal Contaminants in Energy Efficient Dwellings: Impact of Ventilation Type and Level of Urbanization. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4936. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17144936

AMA Style

Niculita-Hirzel H, Yang S, Hager Jörin C, Perret V, Licina D, Goyette Pernot J. Fungal Contaminants in Energy Efficient Dwellings: Impact of Ventilation Type and Level of Urbanization. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(14):4936. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17144936

Chicago/Turabian Style

Niculita-Hirzel, Hélène, Shen Yang, Corinne Hager Jörin, Vincent Perret, Dusan Licina, and Joëlle Goyette Pernot. 2020. "Fungal Contaminants in Energy Efficient Dwellings: Impact of Ventilation Type and Level of Urbanization" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 14: 4936. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17144936

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