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Indoor Air. 2014 Dec;24(6):559-66. doi: 10.1111/ina.12110. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

CO2 generation rate in Chinese people.

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Department of Building Science, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.


Carbon dioxide (CO2 ) metabolically produced by humans has been widely used as a tracer gas for determining ventilation rates in occupied rooms. Among other necessities, the method requires good estimates of human CO2 generation rates. An empirically derived equation is widely used to calculate the CO2 generation rate. However, there are indications that this equation is not valid for young Chinese people. In this study, we measured the CO2 generation rate of 44 young Chinese people at two typical activity levels, quiet sitting and relaxed standing. We found that the commonly used empirical equation overpredicted CO2 generation rates, but could be corrected with a factor of 0.75 for Chinese females and of 0.85 for Chinese males. The variance for measured CO2 sitting was much smaller than for standing, and hence, we concluded that sitting yields more precise CO2 generation estimates. The relative contributions of sex, height, weight, and metabolic rate were analyzed. We concluded that the error in estimating metabolic rate is responsible for most of the difference in measured generation of CO2 from the empirical equation's predictions.


The tracer gas method using CO2 generated by people is widely used to calculate ventilation rate. However, the empirically derived equation that is normally used to estimate CO2 generation rate is not suitable for young Chinese people at rest. To estimate the CO2 generation rate in Chinese people under low-activity conditions, the empirical equation should be multiplied by correction factors of 0.75 and 0.85 for females and males, respectively.


Chinese people; Human metabolic CO2 production; Metabolic rate; Nishi equation; Tracer gas; Ventilation rate

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