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A study of Indoor Air Quality

indoor spaces/environments

• Acceptable indoor air quality refers to air in which
there are no known contaminants at harmful
concentrations as determined by the public health
authorities, and with which a substantial majority of
the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction.
• Indoor air refers to the air inside a building, including air which is within a

room and air which is removed from a room by mechanical means.
• Outdoor air refers to the air in the external surroundings.
• Building-related illness refers to any illness which occurs directly as a

result of human exposure to a specific health hazard present in the

• Air-conditioning refers to the process of treating air to meet
requirements of a conditioned space by controlling its
temperature, humidity, cleanliness and distribution.
• Air temperature refers to the dry-bulb
temperature of the air surrounding the occupant.
• Sick building syndrome refers to an excess of work-related
irritations of the skin and mucous membranes and other
symptoms (including headache and fatigue) reported by
occupants in modern office buildings.

. Good IEQ is an essential component of any building. based on pollutant concentrations and conditions that can affect the health.Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) It refers to the quality of the air and environment inside buildings. sound and other factors. light. comfort and performance of occupants -including temperature. relative humidity.

. office equipment. and pesticides. • Contaminant refers to an unwanted airborne constituent that may reduce acceptability of the indoor air quality. • ACMV system refers to the air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation system of the building. cleaners.• Ventilation refers to the process of supplying and removing air by natural or mechanical means to and from any space. interior furnishings. personal care supplies. textiles. Such air may or may not be conditioned. • voc-(volatile organic compounds): volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals used to manufacture and prepare many building materials.

Why is Indoor Air Quality Important? • Indoor air quality is a major concern to businesses. comfort. 2008). and productivity of building occupants. building managers. . and employees because it can impact the health. • Good indoor air quality is important to human health because people spend a significant fraction of their time indoors (Bernestein et al. well being. tenants.

significance of iaq • Indoor air quality has become a huge concern over the past decade. • These indoor environments often emit and harbor harmful particles and vapors that frequently cause what is referred to as "sick building syndrome".all due to the off-gassing of many common products such as carpeting. nausea. . at work. • This is compounded further by the fact that we spend the majority of our time indoors: whether we are in school. • Prolonged exposure to indoor environments often results in occupants complaining about fatigue. and irritation. headaches. • The EPA has acknowledged indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental health risks. or at home. household cleaners. and furniture.

Air pollution has become a major concern in India in recent years both because it is now clear that large parts of the Indian urban population are exposed to some of the highest pollutant levels in the world and also because new studies around the world on the health effects of air pollution have increased confidence in estimates of the risks posed by air pollution exposures ..Why now…. .

than outdoor air. These pollutants come from activities. The air in our homes. schools and offices can be 2 to 5 times more polluted. . and in some cases 100 times more polluted. products and materials we use every day.Indoor Air is 2 to 5 Times More Polluted Than Outdoor Air • Most of our exposure to environmental pollutants occurs by breathing the air indoors.

• A workplace is any physical or virtual space where working relationships exist.Office -definition • An office is generally a room or other area in which people work. where employer-employee relations exist. but may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it. Office layout types • Open cell layout • Closed Cell layout • Hybrid Layout .

Typologies of Offices: • Government /Public offices • Company owned offices/private offices .preferably at minimum cost and to maximum satisfaction.Office spaces • The main purpose of an office environment is to support its occupants in performing their job . it is not always easy to maintain good iaq in office spaces. • With different people performing different tasks and activities. however.

health. • Research has also shown that workers in buildings with adequate air quality have reduced rates of symptoms related to poor air quality . • Significant increases in worker productivity have also been demonstrated when the air quality was adequate . and well-being.Objective: Why good iaq is important in offices • Good IAQ in office buildings is an important component of a healthy indoor environment. • It contributes to a favorable and productive environment for building occupants. . giving them a sense of comfort.

Research into economics • Benefits that result from improving air quality should be added in – Less sick leave days – Less worker complaints – Change in workers comfort level – Increase in productivity – Increase in moral – Reduced healthcare costs – Less maintenance costs – Less turnover of employees .


Shiva Nagendra & P.Indoor air quality assessment in a school building in Chennai City. In India. India . concerns over the effects of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) have been increased and wide spectrums of symptoms/illnesses are related to indoor air pollution in many urban centers of the world. Sri Harika • Abstract: During recent years. it is estimated that about half a million women and children die per year due to indoor air pollution. Desktop study -1 . maintaining an acceptable IAQ is important in places such as schools. Therefore. hospitals and houses. corporate office buildings. Author(s): S. M.

within a range of 100 m from the busy traffic junction. India. Desktop study -1 . located in the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI). This building is located close to an urban road with heavy traffic flow. Kendriya Vidyalaya.• It is hypothesized that the higher indoor pollutant concentrations of the buildings located near busy traffic roads are mostly influenced by elevated outdoor vehicular pollutant concentrations. Chennai. In this paper an attempt has been made to analyze the indoor air quality of a naturally ventilated school building.

namely carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). along with meteorological parameters such as temperature and relative humidity. Desktop study -1 . have been measured inside the school building. The vehicular pollutant CO has also been measured at the road side to develop the indoor and outdoor CO relationship.• The indoor pollutants.

a questionnaire survey has also been conducted to evaluate the general environmental conditions (sick building syndrome) of the school building. • This concentration is close to standard value of 1000 ppm specified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).00a. USA.m).• the vehicular pollutant CO has also been measured at the road side to develop the indoor and outdoor CO relationship. The result indicated that hourly the CO2 concentration inside the school room is 927 ppm during morning working hours (10. • The measured concentrations inside the school building are within the standard. • Further. Desktop study -1 .

• In typical office buildings the cost of people is a factor 100 higher than energy costs. Bjarne International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy Technical University of Denmark Nils Koppels Alle. ABSTRACT • People spend in industrialized countries more than 90 % of there lives in an artificial indoor environment (home. which make the performance of people at their work significantly more important than energy costs. reduction of indoor pollution sources and more effective ventilation increases the performance of people.Productivity and Indoor Air Quality Olesen.increased ventilation above normal recommendation. indoor of productivity of 5-10 %. • Studies on people sick leaves show a very high loss of work time and performance. 402. • The results indicate increase • KEYWORDS: health. productivity. Denmark bwo@mek. Build. comfort. which have significant economical consequences for companies. • Recent studies in offices and schools show that comfortable room temperatures. DK-2800 Lyngby.dtu. work). Desktop study -2 .

dizziness and nausea. . like asthma. or memory. • Indoor air pollutants can cause uneasiness or discomfort. eye and skin irritations. sneezing. allergic reactions. headaches. respiratory tract infections. coughing. • Recent data conveyed that poor IAQ could reduce a person’s skill to complete particular mental tasks requiring concentration.Negative effects of poor Indoor Air Quality: • Pollutants may contribute to short-term and long-term health problems. fatigue. congestion. and reduces attendance and productivity. calculation.

uncontrolled moisture can result in mold growth of mold or fungi that leads to the architectural decay of building components. Negative effects of poor Indoor Air Quality: . • Indoor air quality problems can also lead to liability issues. and school administrations. lawsuits. For example. or disputes.• Indoor air pollutants accelerate building degradation. students. • Poor indoor air quality causes stress in relationships among employees. parents. family members. teachers.

Refrigerating.National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. . and Air Conditioning Engineers • Osha – occupational safety and health administration • Niosh .American society of Heating.IAQ Standards are given by: • Ashrae .

NIOSH found that the primary sources of indoor air quality problems are: • Inadequate ventilation 52% • Contamination from inside building 16% • Contamination from outside building 10% • Microbial contamination 5% • Contamination from building fabric 4% • Unknown sources 13% .

• Sixty cubic feet per minute per person is recommended for smoking lounges with local mechanical exhaust ventilation and no air recirculation. • ASHRAE amended this standard in 1975 to specify the minimum value of 5 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of outdoor air per person be used in building design. Refrigerating. This standard has been incorporated into the building codes of many cities and states. and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) established recommended ventilation rates for indoor environments in 1973. • The American Society of Heating. .RECOMMENDED VENTILATION RATES. • The 62-1989 standard recommends a minimum of 15 CFM of outdoor air per person for offices (reception areas) and 20 CFM per person for general office space with a moderate amount of smoking.

Solvents .Dry-cleaned clothing Hairsprays .Paint strippers .Disinfectants . Felt-tip markers/pens .Perfumes .Upholstery .Volatile organic compounds are found in a number of products including: • Furniture .Fabric softeners . Spray cans .Clothing • Cleaning products .Correction fluid Carbonless (NCR) copy paper . Contaminated water Draperies . Carpet.Copy machine toners .Mothballs .Adhesives/glues .Fuels.Paint .Nail polish .Building materials Aerosol sprays .Tobacco smoke • Air fresheners/deodorizers Pesticides .

Discomfort expected and headache possible • Greater than 25 mg/m³ .TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds) • Less than 0.20-3.Irritation and discomfort may be possible • 3.0 mg/m³ .Toxic range where other neurotoxic effects may occur .0-25.0 mg/m³ .20 mg/m³ .No irritation or discomfort expected • 0.

1.Carbon Dioxide-NIOSH recommendations: 250-350 ppm normal outdoor ambient concentrations 600 ppm minimal air quality complaints 600-1. complaints such as headaches. and eye and throat irritation will be more widespread.000 ppm less clearly interpreted 1. fatigue.000 ppm should be used as an upper limit for indoor levels .000 ppm indicates inadequate ventilation.

3 Silicone caulk N/A <2. mg/m3 VOC Emission Rate.0 Putty strips 1.8 2.45 1.0 1.3 Felt carpet 1.080 Gypsum board N/A 0.Concentrations and Emission Rates of VOCs for Common Materials VOC Concentration.95 0.38 0.00 0.003 Acrylic latex paint 2.0 Building Material Water-based EVA wall and .8 10.2 Sheet vinyl flooring 54.0 Plywood paneling N/A 1.19 0.026 Linoleum 5.34 PVA glue cement 57.018 0.0 Plastic silicone sealer 77.0 271.9 26.410.43 Epoxy.22 Particle board N/A 2. mg/m2h Concrete with water-based form-release agent 0. clear floor varnish 5.

and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).5 degrees Celsius in winter and 23 . Recommendations include: • temperature of 20 .a substantial majority (80% or more) of the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction”.. The standard most widely used was produced by the American Society of Heating... . This standard defines acceptable indoor air quality as “air in which. Refrigerating. • carbon dioxide levels can be measured to see if the heating.Standards and Guidelines for IAQ There is no legislation regulating indoor air quality.26 degrees Celsius in summer • relative humidity (measure of moisture in the air) between 30% .60%. and air conditioning (HVAC) system is working properly. ventilation.23.

reproductive toxicants. • Moisture resistant: Products and systems that resist moisture or inhibit the growth of biological contaminants in buildings. • Systems or equipment: Products that promote healthy IAQ by identifying indoor air pollutants or enhancing the air quality. or low-VOC methods of cleaning.Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is enhanced by utilizing materials that meet the following criteria • : Low or non-toxic: Materials that emit few or no carcinogens. non- toxic. • Healthfully maintained: Materials. components. and systems that require only simple. or no-VOC mechanical attachment methods and minimal hazards. • Low-VOC assembly: Materials installed with minimal VOC-producing compounds. Products that also maximize resource and energy efficiency while reducing chemical emissions. • Minimal chemical emissions: Products that have minimal emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). . or irritants as demonstrated by the manufacturer through appropriate testing.

The Importance of Indoor Air Quality in Office Buildings Indoor Air Quality • In the news since the energy crisis of the 70s necessitated tighter construction • Same time frame more workers become white collar due to the computer revolution • More people in tighter environment • Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is born .

• NIOSH(National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health )uses the term Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) to describe this. • Examples include: – – – – Legionellosis Allergic reactions Mold and Fungus Hypersensitivity .Sick building syndrome: • Workers become ill at workplace and get better at home.

NIOSH believes the problem is not just what one breathes • Factors in Building-Related Illness – Job stress – Ergonomic stress – Lighting – Noise – Temperature extremes • These factors may occur individually or combined .

burning eyes • Irritated skin • Nasal congestion • Fatigue • Dry irritated throats • Nausea • headaches .Symptoms of SBS • Itching.

NIOSH found that high stress environments include: • Humidity problems • Unacceptable noise levels • Adverse ergonomic conditions • Improper temperature conditions • Inadequate ventilation .

Seventy percent of employed Americans work in nonagricultural. non-industrial environments… .

Improving building environments • There are 89 million workers in the US who mainly work indoors • Cleaner indoor environments could help an estimated 15 million of them • There is no OSHA regulation regarding indoor air quality in offices .

EPA or ASHRAE • ASHRAE standards were set in 1973 and updated in 1975 – Recommend an exchange rate of 5 cubic feet of outside air per minute for every person working in a building .OSHA’s recommendations • There is no mention of office standards • Inquiries are delegated to either NIOSH.

welding Irritation to mucous membranes . respiratory. carpeting. nausea.OSHA Major Indoor Air Contaminants Compound Source Health Effects Acetic Acid Silicone caulk. combustion Loss of concentration. quicker respirations Carbon Monoxide Tobacco smoke. human respiration. rashes. improperly vented exhaust or appliances Headache. cardiovascular effects. odor Nitrogen Oxides Improperly vented exhaust or appliances. and mucous membrane irritation. eye. plywood. fabrics. sleepy. particle board. x-ray equipment Mucous membrane irritant Carbon Dioxide Unvented appliances. cyanosis. paneling. tobacco smoke. glues Allergic reactions. death Formaldehyde Foam insulation.

tobacco smoke. asphalt. headache. cigar. headache Ammonia. wheezing. food and food products Allergic reactions. eye and nasal irritation. electrical arcing. hot water systems. combustion products Mucous membrane irritation. glue. infections such as legionellosis. aching muscles. mucous membrane irritation. water damaged materials. indoor high humidity. air cleaners. cough. pp. lung irritant Tobacco Smoke Pipe. animals. pneumonias. sulfur dioxide Microfilm. sinus problems. gasoline and tobacco smoke. cigarette smoking Respiratory system. tight chest. nausea. aggravated chronic respiratory diseases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) Copiers. insects. drain cleaners blue-print equipment. eye. Symptoms include chills. fever. sneezing. glue. cosmetics. cleaning compounds… Dizziness. headaches. paint. fatigue. cooling towers. window cleaner. dried floor drains. diarrhea and nausea . smog Mucous membrane irritation. humidifier fever. coughing.2-3 Ozone Copy machinery. contains several hundred toxic substances Microorganisms and biological contaminants Air conditioning condensate. skin. hydrogen sulfide. plants. aggravated chronic respiratory diseases Synthetic Fibers Fibrous glass and mineral wool Dermatitis.OSHA Major Indoor Air Contaminants Source: OSHA Technical Manual: Section III: Chapter 2.

• Smoking should be banned from inside buildings • Outside smoking areas should be kept away from ventilation uptakes and away from doors or windows .Smoking….

Ventilation is key • Good ventilation moves a lot of air • Humidity should be kept low indoors to prevent mold and fungus growth. • Moisture should not accumulate in drip pans and there should be no water damage due to leaky roofs .

Molds… • Biological threat to indoor air quality • Moisture either due to water damage or high humidity. . • Mold will grow where it has food and water. • Eliminating water from the indoor environment will limit mold growth.

Places mold loves… • • • • • • Leaking roofs Substandard maintenance Cold spots Localized flooding Malfunctioning humidifiers Leaky plumbing .

Mold Mold is big business and business is thriving .

Mold in buildings can cause • • • • • Aggravation of asthma symptoms Headaches Allergic reactions Some molds are toxic Severity of symptoms – Depend on the ages of the individuals that are exposed – Length of exposure – Sensitivities that might already exist .

Radon • • • • Radioactive gas produced as radium decays Present in almost all soils and in rocks Migrates through groundwater and soil Seeps into homes and buildings through the foundations • Second to smoking in causing lung cancer • EPA had success in homes now wants to test in commercial buildings .

lung cancer and mesothelioma • Can take up to 20 years after exposure to manifest .Asbestos • Fibrous mineral found in rocks • Extruded into filaments that cannot be seen with the naked eye • Under the right conditions can suspend in the air and be inhaled • Causes asbestosis.

Asbestos • More of a threat to maintenance workers because it was used as insulation in boiler rooms and service areas • If it is intact OSHA does not recommend moving it. just monitoring • NIOSH advocates its removal in all cases and believes there is no safe amount of asbestos • More of a danger during demolition or renovation .


• EPA estimates that friable (easily crumbled) asbestos
exists in 700,000 public and commercial buildings
• EPA and NIOSH 5 facts about asbestos:
– Asbestos is dangerous but only if airborne
– Average amount in buildings is low making health
risks low
– Ill advised removal is more dangerous than
– Removal is only necessary in renovation or demolition

Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants
1. Building Site or Location:
• The location of a building can have implications for indoor

• Highways or busy thoroughfares may be sources of
particulates and other pollutants in nearby buildings.
• Buildings sited on land where there was prior industrial use
or where there is a high water table may result in leaching
of water or chemical pollutants into the building.

Buildings with multiple tenants may need an evaluation to ensure emissions from one tenant do not adversely affect another tenant. idling vehicles.g. etc.) or where building exhaust reenters into the building can be a constant source of pollutants. waste containers.. facades. Poor foundations.2. . and window and Door openings may allow pollutant or water intrusion. Outside air intakes placed near sources where pollutants are drawn back into the building (e. products of combustion. roofs. Building Design: Design and construction flaws may contribute to indoor air pollution.

3. the building is often placed under negative pressure. vehicle exhaust. etc. Building Systems Design and Maintenance: • When the HVAC system is not functioning properly for any reason. • In such cases. . parking garage contaminants. there may be infiltration of outdoor pollutants such as particulates. humid air.

Building Systems Design and Maintenance: • Also. relative humidity. when spaces are redesigned or renovated. one floor of a building that housed computer services may be renovated for offices.e.. modifying temperature. • For example. . and air flow). • The HVAC system would need to be modified for office employee occupancy (i. the HVAC system may not be updated to accommodate the changes.3.

dust or other by-products of the construction materials are sources of pollutants that may circulate through a building.4. . RenovationActivities: • When painting and other renovations are being conducted.

parking garages. toilet rooms. trash rooms. laboratories. maintenance shops. locker rooms. soiled laundry rooms. . copy rooms and other specialized areas may be a source of pollutants when they lack adequate local exhaust ventilation.5. Local Exhaust Ventilation: • Kitchens. beauty and nail salons.

g.g. ceilings)or non-structural surfaces (e. shades).. or the presence of wet or damp structural surfaces (e. carpets. walls.6. .may contribute to indoor air pollution.Building materials • Disturbing thermal insulation or sprayed-on acoustical material..

7. .Building Furnishings: Cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed-wood products may release pollutants into the indoor air.

cleaning products. Allowing cleaned carpets to dry Without active ventilation may promote microbial growth. . or personal-care products are being applied may be exposed to pollutants.Building Maintenance: Workers in areas in which pesticides.8.

Occupant Activities: Building occupants may be the source of indoor air pollutants. . such pollutants include perfumes or colognes.9.

fungi. or water intrusion through leaks in the building envelope or flooding. dust mites. and particle .Common Pollutant Categories Although there are numerous indoor air pollutants that can be spread through a building. viruses. chemical. condensation. and pollen may result from inadequate maintenance and housekeeping. they typically fall into three basic categories: biological. . water spills. animal dander. inadequate humidity control. Biological Excessive concentrations of bacteria.

products used during construction activities such as adhesives and paints..g. and gases such as carbon monoxide.Chemical Sources of chemical pollutants (gases and vapors)include emissions from products used in the building (e. formaldehyde. wall and floor coverings. and cleaning and consumer products). accidental spills of chemicals. pesticides. . which are products of combustion. and nitrogen dioxide. furniture. office equipment.

or other substances may be Drawn into the building from outside. sanding wood or drywall. non-biological. Substances that are light enough to be suspended in the air. . printing. dirt. copying. and operating equipment.Particle (Non-biological) • Particles are solid or liquid. • Particles can also be produced by activities that occur in buildings such a construction. • Dust.

combustion. etc. etc. soot. dust. tobacco smoke. bacteria Carbon monoxide Combustion products from grills. smoke particles. aerosols Tobacco smoke Tobacco products Asbestos Insulation. cleaning products. vehicle exhaust Vapors and Gases Nitrogen oxides Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Formaldehyde Many building products such as plywood.Category Particles Air Pollutant Source Respirable particles Dust. office supplies. Benzene Photocopying material. furniture. Toulene Phenols Ammonia Alcohols Pesticides . pollen Pathogens Mold. cosmetic products. fabrics. kerosene heaters. paints. acoustic material. insulation. floor tiles Allergens Pet dander.