Green Technology for Healthy Air and Energy Conservation: New Technology for Continuous, Indoor Air Quality Monitoring
Continuous monitoring for indoor, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has been carried out by VOC Technologies (VOCTEC) during and after construction of Epler Hall, a newly-built green building on the PSU campus. Epler is a 6-story building devoted largely to student apartment residences, with classroom and office space on the first floor. Epler has no central heating/ventilation system. Epler’s apartment ventilation is by bathroom vent, hallway under-door clearance, and by opening exterior hallway or apartment windows. Heating is by individual baseboard heaters in each room. VOCTEC monitored indoor air quality (IAQ) during and after construction in a first-floor classroom for a period of 4 weeks. Several days of monitoring were then carried out in a 6th floor apartment before occupancy at the start of fall term. Finally, several days of monitoring were carried out in an unoccupied 2nd floor apartment during spring break. Not surprisingly, during construction there were frequent periods of very poor indoor air quality due to construction emissions from paints, glues, cleaning agents, etc. These classroom emissions stopped, post-construction, and the classroom was found to have the same air quality as outdoor air. The situation was quite different in the residential apartments that were found to have very poor air quality even after construction was completed. This poor air quality was apparently caused by emissions from newly installed furnishings combined with low ventilation rates.