Quantification of indoor TVOC levels from different sources in mechanically ventilated buildings

George Y. Chan, Christopher Y. Chao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The levels of total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) in 17 building premises including offices, customer services centre, social services centre and fitness facilities were measured using a real-time monitoring method by a photo-acoustic infrared instrument. Measurements were taken both when the mechanical ventilation system was operating and when it was not operating. Simple source apportionment analysis was conducted based on a simplified materials balance equation to identify sources of the indoor VOC accumulation and their contributions from building material-related sources, occupant-related sources and the outdoors. The average emission rate of TVOCs from building materials was 0.19 μg·m-2·s-1 and that from the occupants was 5 μg·s-1 per person. The TVOC emission rate from ventilation ductwork was 0.21 μg·s-1. During the daytime, the building material-related TVOC sources and the occupant-related TVOC sources each contributed 17.5 and 14.9% by weight to the total indoor TVOC accumulation, respectively, with the remaining 67.5% coming from the outdoor sources. During night-time, the building material-related TVOC sources contributed an average of 32.2% by weight to the total indoor TVOC sources and the remaining 67.8% came from the outdoor sources. The indoor TVOC level contributed by the ventilation ducting and related sources was found to be negligible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-350
Number of pages11
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Building material-related sources
  • Occupant-related sources
  • Outdoor sources
  • Total volatile organic compounds
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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