The impacts of building opening characteristics on dust particle deposition indoors

Mohammed Alhaji Mohammed*, Kyari Bulama, Alhaji Modu Bukar, Mala Ali Modu, Audu Alhaji Usman, Alhaji Kasir Lawan, Garba Abba Habib

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The effects of dust exposure in buildings and its health and comfort consequences continue to concern occupants, particularly those who spend most of their time indoors. This study examines the influence of building opening characteristics on surface dust loading in indoor environments to determine the dust particles' impact on different opening configurations. Design/methodology/approach: Indoor Harmattan dust surface loading data were collected from Maiduguri, Northeastern Nigeria, using model rooms with six different window configurations. A simple mathematical relationship was employed to assess surface dust loading characteristics in the model rooms. The study measured dust thrice between December and February for three days (72 h). The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Findings: The results determined the highest average surface dust loading of 12.03 g/m2 in the room with awning windows at an indoor-to-outdoor (I/O) ratio of 0.7. In contrast, the experiment in the room with a closed window recorded the lowest average surface dust loading of 5.24 g/m2 at an I/O ratio of 0.30, which is infiltration. The outcomes further indicate that the average surface dust loading varies with the building opening type and position, as higher surface dust loadings were recorded in locations closer to the openings (doors and windows), reaffirming that the dominant source of the dust particles is outdoors. According to the study, dust incursion due to infiltration accounts for 30% of the outdoor surface loading. Originality/value: Thus, Harmattan dust is a serious challenge to the health, productivity and hygiene of building occupants in the study area. The built-environment professionals must use the study's outcome to optimize building openings' designs (shape, size and form) for effective indoor dust control.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Building
  • Dust loading
  • Harmattan dust
  • Health
  • Indoor environment
  • Openings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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