Assessing the benefit and cost for a voluntary indoor air quality certification scheme in Hong Kong

M. S. Tse, Chi Kwan Chau, Wai Ling Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A voluntary indoor air quality certification scheme has been proposed in Hong Kong for assessing and evaluating the indoor air quality level in a variety of public places like offices, restaurants and pubs. The scheme intends to promote the public well being, however, its technical and financial practicality has led to serious discussions among the government officials, practitioners and premises owners. Accordingly, this study intends to develop a protocol for examining its financial viability by linking the appropriate dose-response and economic data with the results from indoor micro-environment models. The financial viability of the scheme is evaluated by examining the cost and benefit associated with compliance on the different prescribed indoor particulate (PM10) levels. According to our analysis, the indoor action level of 180 μg/m3as 8-h mean (with the objective of protecting the health of general public) does not require office owners to improve beyond the base setting. Nevertheless, owners should consider altering the base settings in their air conditioning systems so as to secure more benefit on every dollar they spent. On the contrary, the 20 μg/m3level as 8-h mean (with the objective of providing comfort) is not considered to be financially viable for office owners as they will incur financial loss on compliance. Subsequent sensitivity analysis indicates that the total net benefit derived have a great dependency on the value-of-life estimates used. If conservative health estimates are adopted, the optimum level determined to be beneficial to both owners and the society will be 55 μg/m3, which can be obtained by operating the air conditioning system with a ventilation rate of 10 l/s, primary filters of 80-85% efficiency and secondary filters efficiency of 60-65% arrestance. This information should be extremely valuable for government officials and policy makers in assessing the financial viability of the voluntary indoor assessment scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-107
Number of pages19
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2004


  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Indoor air quality
  • Particulate standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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