Indoor Air Quality in Large Office Buildings in the Midwest

EPA Grant Number: R824795
Title: Indoor Air Quality in Large Office Buildings in the Midwest
Institution: University of Iowa
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: October 1, 1995 through September 30, 1998
Project Amount: $635,257
RFA: Indoor Air Quality in Large Office Buildings (1995) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air


This study will use standardized methods to characterize indoor air quality (IAQ), building design and operation, psychosocial factors, and human perceptions of IAQ and symptoms in large office buildings located in the Midwestern U.S. The aims of this study are: 1) to collect baseline data to characterize the physical, mechanical, and environmental factors that influence IAQ; human exposures to carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, temperature, relative humidity, noise, illumination, organic chemicals, particulates, and microorganisms; occupant perceptions of IAQ, psychosocial attributes of the workgroup, and occupant productivity; and 2) to evaluate relationships among these parameters. Six large office buildings in metropolitan areas will be selected in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Sampling will be conducted over a one week period in each building. The building design, air handling system, air flow patterns and velocities, and building operation will be characterized. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, temperature, relative humidity, light, and noise will be monitored using direct reading instruments and data-loggers inside each building. Simultaneous outdoor measurements of these parameters will also be made. Airborne concentrations of culturable bioaerosols, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and PM10 particulates will also be made. Airborne endotoxins and total microorganisms (culturable plus non-culturable bacteria and fungi) will be evaluated. In addition to employee perceptions and symptoms, data on the psychological characteristics of employees and the psychosocial characteristics of the work group as a whole will be collected using a questionnaire based upon the EPA BASE questionnaire with additions from other standardized questionnaires. Data will be entered into the EPA data management program for inclusion in the EPA's national IAQ database. Sampling will be repeated in each of these buildings during all four seasons to facilitate characterization of study parameters over time and to allow analysis of longitudinal relationships among the factors being studied. The results of this study will add a significant amount of data on buildings from the Midwest region to the EPA national data base. This data will be useful in generating hypotheses for further studies of IAQ, and will also help to identify and quantify the factors that contribute to Sick Building Syndrome. The data will also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of current building operation practices, and can be used to prioritize allocations of resources for reduction and control of risk associated with IAQ complaints.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 15 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

air, indoor air, particulates, VOC, fungi, carbon monoxide, Co, monitoring, Midwest, Iowa, IA, Region 7, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Toxics, Geographic Area, Midwest, particulate matter, Health Risk Assessment, VOCs, Risk Assessments, Biochemistry, indoor air, Atmospheric Sciences, Biology, EPA Region, building related illness, monitoring, particulates, PM10, Iowa, fungi, buildings, ambient air, microorganisms, workplace, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, human exposure, inhalation, office, sick building syndrome, Region 7, IA

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1996
  • 1997
  • Final Report