The link between symptoms of office building occupants and in-office air pollution: The Indoor Air Pollution Index

  • Sofuoglu S
  • Moschandreas D
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Abstract

The lack of an effective indoor air quality (IAQ) metric causes communication concerns among building tenants (the public), building managers (decision-makers), and IAQ investigators (engineers). The Indoor Air Pollution Index (IAPI) is developed for office buildings to bridge this communication discord. The index, simple and easily understood, employs the range of pollutant concentrations and concentrations in the subject building to estimate a unitless single number, the IAPI, between 0 (lowest pollution level and best IAQ) and ten (highest pollution level and worst IAQ). The index provides a relative measure of indoor air pollution for office buildings and ranks office indoor air pollution relative to the index distribution of the US office building population. Furthermore, the index associates well with occupant symptoms, percentage of occupants with persistent symptoms. A tree-structured method is utilized in conjunction with the arithmetic mean as the aggregation function. The hierarchical structure of the method renders not only one index value, but also several sub-index values that are critical in the study of an office air environment. The use of the IAPI for IAQ management is illustrated with an example. The decomposition of the index leads to the ranking of sampled pollutants by their relative contribution to the index and the identification of dominant pollutant(s). This information can be applied to design an effective strategy for reducing in-office air pollution.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Environmental management
  • Index formulation
  • Indoor air pollution
  • Occupant symptoms
  • Office buildings

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