Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds in New Residential Buildings Before Moving-in

  • Shin, Seung-Ho (Department of Environmental Engineering, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Jo, Wan-Kuen (Department of Environmental Engineering, Kyungpook National University)
  • Received : 2011.11.02
  • Accepted : 2012.01.12
  • Published : 2012.01.31


This study investigated the characteristics of selected volatile organic compounds(VOCs) in newly-finished residential buildings, before the occupants moved in. This investigation was carried out by measuring the indoor and outdoor concentrations of selected VOCs before the occupants moved in and by utilizing an indoor mass balance model. Among 25 target VOCs, five aromatics(benzene, ethyl benzene, toluene, m,p-xylene, and o-xylene) were detected in all samples of both indoor and outdoor air. Toluene was most abundant VOC in the indoor air of new apartments, with a median value of 168 mg $m^{-3}$. Unlike other VOCs, halogenated compounds would not be significantly emitted from building materials. The indoor air concentrations of all selected VOCs, except for 1,3,5-trimethyl benzene, exhibited significant correlations each other, while for outdoor air concentrations, five aromatics only were significantly correlated between them. The emission rate of toluene was higher for the current study(median value, 76.8 mg $m^{-2}\;h^{-1}$) than for a previous study, while the emission rates of limonene, a-pinene and b-pinene(geometric means of 2.4, 13.8 and 9.6 mg $m^{-2}\;h^{-1}$, respectively) were lower and the emission rates of m,p-xylene and 2-butanone(geometric means of 10.9 and 21.3 mg $m^{-2}\;h^{-1}$, respectively) were similar. Although there were a few exceptions, the emission strengths are likely proportional to indoor temperature, and appear to reversely proportional to air exchange rate.


Emission characterization;Building materials;Indoor model;New apartment;Air exchange rate


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)


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