Pollutant loads in residential buildings

Subtask 2: Pollutant loads in residential buildings

An obstacle to integrating energy and IAQ (indoor air quality) strategies is the lack of reliable method and data for estimating pollutant loads in residential buildings in the way heating/cooling loads are routinely estimated.

This subtask is to collect existing data and to a limited extent provide new data about: properties for transport, retention and emission of chemical substances in new and recycled materials, and particle transport in residential buildings under the influence of heat, airflow and moisture conditions. Collection of results from lab tests on material and room level will be part of this study. Specifically, results will be collected and analyzed from tests of emission of harmful compounds under various temperature, humidity and airflow conditions, since such data under combined exposures generally do not exist today.

A summary of the annex accomplishments

  • A critical literature survey was carried out to gather relevant data and existing knowledge on major pollutant sources and loads in residential buildings due to building materials and assemblies, including existing Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emission source and sink models and data.
  • Experimental measurements were carried out to study the combined effects of temperature and humidity on VOC emissions from different building materials. Additional small-scale environmental chamber tests were conducted to investigate the adsorption and desorption of VOCs and SVOCs on building materials and furnishing.
  • Regarding the mathematical modelling part, first a theoretical correlation between the emission rate and indoor temperature and relative humidity was derived. Second, in order to evaluate the impacts of VOCs emissions from building materials on the indoor pollution load beyond the standard chamber test conditions and test period, mechanistic emission source models were developed. A new procedure was proposed to estimate the model parameters using VOC emission data from standard small chamber tests.
  • Three common exercises (CE) were developed.
  • A database of model parameters for the estimation of VOC emission rates for IAQ simulations was developed.

Unresolved technical issues


Recommendations for follow-up work

Further investigation of using novel building materials to actively manage building energy and IAQ.


Menghao Qin
Associate Professor
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 40 15
22 APRIL 2021