Cal Iaq

Long-Term Building Air Measurements

for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) including Aldehydes

at a California Five-Building Sustainable Office Complex


California Department of Health Services

August 31


This study was conducted by the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) Indoor Air Quality Section beginning in and ending in June. Its goal was to expand scientific investigation data of office buildings constructed with low-emitting interior finishing materials that were tested by their manufacturers prior to their selection and installation to meet certain chemical emission criteria. In addition, the temporal changes of target chemicals were studied to determine the effect of building materials, office furniture, occupant activities, and cleaning/maintenance products on indoor air quality.


This study (Volume 1) and accompanying data (Volume 2) outline the role of indoor air quality and its relationship to the sustainable construction practices implemented at the five-building Capitol Area East End Complex (CAEEC). The final report was issued August 31, .


Download: Executive Summary (HTML)

Volume 1 of the report (PDF)

Volume 2 (study dataset) (PDF)


Highlights of the Results


1.          The volatile organic compound concentration targets established for this project were not exceeded in the majority of the locations. However, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde targets were exceeded in numerous locations of more than one building.

2.          Concentrations of chemicals measured at the newly-constructed CAEEC were compared to those reported in the USEPAs Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation (BASE) study in which older office buildings were monitored. The concentrations of common chemicals to both studies were comparable and only the concentrations of a few chemicals at the CAEEC were higher than those reported in the BASE study.


3.          Very few chemicals could be traced to a unique source. Only one building-related compound (caprolactam) and one occupant-related compound [(decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, (d-5)] studied were clearly identifiable from unique sources. In the case of caprolactam, there was a clear decrease over time in its emissions and in the case of d-5, there was a clearly identifiable increase over time in its emissions. Emission factors of some of the other target chemicals fluctuated throughout the study.


1.          Local emission factors of some of the target chemicals during the post-occupancy period were fairly uniform within each building, whereas, others differed substantially from building median values.



Back to Articles and links related to sustainable building materials


DHS-IAQ Program

Richmond, CA 94804
IAQ Assistance Line:


Updated: September 21


© Copyright. . Cal Iaq. All Rights Reserved. Terms | Site Map