Whole-House Emission Rates and Loss Coefficients of Formaldehyde and Other Volatile Organic Compounds as a Function of the Air Change Rate
journal contributionposted on 28.01.2020, 16:35 by Yibo Huangfu, Nathan M. Lima, Patrick T. O’Keeffe, William M. Kirk, Brian K. Lamb, Von P. Walden, Bertram T. Jobson
Whole-house emission rates and indoor loss coefficients of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were determined from continuous measurements inside a net-zero energy home at two different air change rates (ACHs). By turning the mechanical ventilation on and off, it was demonstrated that formaldehyde concentrations reach a steady state much more quickly than other VOCs, consistent with a significant indoor loss rate attributed to surface uptake. The first order loss coefficient for formaldehyde was 0.47 ± 0.06 h–1 at 0.08 h–1 ACH and 0.88 ± 0.22 h–1 at 0.62 h–1 ACH. Loss rates for other VOCs measured were not discernible, with the exception of hexanoic acid. A factor of 5.5 increase in the ACH increased the whole-house emission rates of VOCs but by varying degrees (factors of 1.1 to 3.8), with formaldehyde displaying no significant change. The formaldehyde area-specific emission rate (86 ± 8 μg m–2 h–1) was insensitive to changes in the ACH because its large indoor loss rate muted the impact of ventilation on indoor air concentrations. These results demonstrate that formaldehyde loss rates must be taken into account to correctly estimate whole-house emission rates and that ventilation will not be as effective at reducing indoor formaldehyde concentrations as it is for other VOCs.