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The primary goal of this investigation was to characterize the ventilation, indoor air quality, and occupant perception in a sample of retail stores. The motivations for this work included the large amount of energy that is spent ventilating retail buildings, as well as the potential for occupational exposure of retail workers and intermittent exposure of customers to indoor air pollutants. One important outcome is an assessment of whether and how much ventilation could be reduced and still maintain acceptable indoor air quality in U.S. retail buildings.

The structure of the report includes a brief introduction and motivation (Chapter 1), a critical review of the literature on ventilation, indoor air quality, and occupant perceptions in retail environments (Chapter 2), an overview of the sample and the methods used in this investigation, including quality assurance activities (Chapter 3), a detailed exploration of the results (Chapter 4), an in-depth addressing of three issues that cut across different parts of the study (Chapter 5), the lessons that we learned that would be useful for future similar investigations and more broadly for the ASHRAE community (Chapter 6), and a summary of the major conclusions (Chapter 7).

The literature search revealed no articles that addressed a comprehensive investigation of ventilation, indoor air quality, and occupant perception in retail stores. There were, however, several articles that addressed one or more aspects of the proposed investigation. Published results for both ventilation and indoor air contaminant concentrations revealed a wide variation across the global retail sector. Direct comparisons are difficult because of differences in methodology and samples, but the literature results suggest reason for concern from both the perspectives of the energy associated with excess ventilation, as well as the high contaminant concentrations in some retail buildings.