Air quality in a simulated office environment as a result of reducing pollution sources and increasing ventilation

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2002

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Air quality was studied in an office space classified as low-polluting and ventilated with outdoor air at a rate of 1 h-1. The pollution load in the space was changed by introducing or removing common building-related indoor pollution sources (linoleum, sealant and wooden shelves with books and paper documents) so that the space could no longer be classified as low-polluting. The outdoor air supply rate in the office was altered from 1 to 3 h-1 (0.83 and 2.5 l/s per m2 floor, respectively) when sources were present and absent. Air temperature of 23 deg.C, relative humidity of 50% and noise level of 35 dB(A) remained unchanged. Under each of the four conditions of air quality in the office, concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured and perceived air quality was assessed by a panel of 30 female subjects. Removing the sources reduced the chemical and sensory pollution load in the office, and increasing the outdoor air supply rate decreased concentrations of many VOCs, including those emitted by building materials and furnishing, and human bioeffluents. The perceived air quality in the office was consequently improved. The improvement in air quality obtained by removing the sources was similar to that obtained by increasing the outdoor air supply rate. The study, thus, confirmed that the systematic use of low-polluting building materials will lead to improved air quality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy and Buildings
VolumeVol. 34
Pages (from-to)pp. 775-783
StatePublished - 2002
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ID: 2646049