Assessment of indoor air quality in office buildings across Europe

The OFFICAIR study
The European project OFFICAIR aimed to broaden the existing knowledge regarding indoor air quality (IAQ) in modern office buildings, i.e., recently built or refurbished buildings. Thirty-seven office buildings participated in the summer campaign (2012), and thirty-five participated in the winter campaign (2012 − 2013). Four rooms were investigated per building. The target pollutants were twelve volatile organic compounds, seven aldehydes, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 μm (PM2.5). Compared to other studies in office buildings, the benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene concentrations were lower in OFFICAIR buildings, while the α-pinene and d-limonene concentrations were higher, and the aldehyde, nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5 concentrations were of the same order of magnitude. When comparing summer and winter, significantly higher concentrations were measured in summer for formaldehyde and ozone, and in winter for benzene, α-pinene, d-limonene, and nitrogen dioxide. The terpene and 2-ethylhexanol concentrations showed heterogeneity within buildings regardless of the season. Considering the average of the summer and winter concentrations, the acetaldehyde and hexanal concentrations tended to increase by 4–5% on average with every floor level increase, and the nitrogen dioxide concentration tended to decrease by 3% on average with every floor level increase. A preliminary evaluation of IAQ in terms of potential irritative and respiratory health effects was performed. The 5-day median and maximum indoor air concentrations of formaldehyde and ozone did not exceed their respective WHO air quality guidelines, and those of acrolein, α-pinene, and d-limonene were lower than their estimated thresholds for irritative and respiratory effects. PM2.5 indoor concentrations were higher than the 24-h and annual WHO ambient air quality guidelines.

Source: Mandin, C., Trantallidi, M., Cattaneo, A., Canha, N., Mihucz, V. G., Szigeti, T., ... & De Kluizenaar, Y. (2016). Science of The Total Environment.

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