Quantification of indoor VOCs in twenty mechanically ventilated buildings in Hong Kong

Christopher Y. Chao, George Y. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Information of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in buildings in Hong Kong is relatively scared compared to other countries. Information of how much VOC accumulation comes from occupants themselves, from building materials and other outdoor sources are scarce even on a global basis. This study aimed at collecting information of the levels of individual VOCs using US-EPA Method TO-14. Twenty building premises including offices and public places such as customer service centers, shopping centers, etc. were studied. Samples were taken during the time slots when the mechanical ventilation system was operating. The 43 VOCs were grouped into three categories, i.e. aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons and organohalogen. The most dominant VOCs found in the indoor samples were benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes (BETX), chloroform and trichloroethylene as 100% of the samples were found to contain these VOCs. Besides, more than 75% of the samples were found to contain 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, methylchloride and dichloromethane. The wt% of chlorinated hydrocarbons (48%) and the wt% of aromatic hydrocarbons (38%) only differed by about 10% in the office sector. Organohalogen (14%) contributed to the smallest fraction of the total on all the premises in the office sector on weight basis. A completely different distribution pattern was found in the non-office sector. The most abundant class of VOCs in terms of weight was aromatic hydrocarbons (80%). The second abundant class of VOCs was chlorinated hydrocarbons (14%) and was much less than the level of aromatic hydrocarbons in terms of weight. Organohalogen (6%) contributed to the smallest fraction of the total on all the premises in the non-office sector on weight basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5895-5913
Number of pages19
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume35
Issue number34
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Non-office sector
  • Office sector
  • Ventilation
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science

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