Definition of standard office environments for evaluating the impact of office furniture emissions on indoor VOC concentrations

Randal D. Carter, Jianshun S. Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

A representative "worst-case" office environment which defines the size and volume of the office space, the amount and type of office furniture surface area, and the outdoor/clean air flow rate is necessary to estimate the impact of office furniture emissions on indoor VOC concentrations based on the emission rates measured from chamber tests. In this study, 31 randomly selected floor plans from North American office buildings were analyzed in detail. The floor plans were from current projects (late 2004 and early 2005) and were provided by an industry cross section of seven major office furniture manufacturers. The analysis included documenting the potential emitting surface area for each workstation and a determination of how much common office space (aisles, etc.) was present as shared between workstations and other adjoining spaces. The 90th percentile conditions for total furniture surface area within the 50th percentile workstation footprint sizes were identified from the over 5,000 workstations analyzed, to provide a representative "worst-case" office environment model (i.e. occupant exposure scenario). Based on the analysis, the representative, "worst-case" standard open plan office environment for a single workstation system is defined as 5.94 m2 (64 ft2) floor area by 2.74 m (9 ft) high (576 ft3 or 16.3 m3), accounting for a standard 1.83 m × 1.83 m (6 ft by 6 ft) open plan workstation system, traffic area and support space for shared copiers, files, storage, etc. The space is assumed to be occupied by a single occupant, and has an outdoor or clean air ventilation rate of 4.17 L/s (8.84 cfm), per ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004. The representative, "worst-case" standard private office environment for a single workstation system is defined as 23.78 m 2 (256 ft2) floor area by 2.74 m (9 ft) high (2304 ft 3 or 65.2 m3), accounting for a standard 13.38 m 2 (144 ft2) private office workstation system, traffic area and support space for shared copiers, files, storage, etc. The space is assumed to be occupied by a single occupant, and has an outdoor or clean air ventilation rate of 9.63 L/s (20.4 cfm), per ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004. A comparison to historical office environments is included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the A and WMA Indoor Environmental Quality
Subtitle of host publicationProblems, Research and Solutions Conference 2006
Pages639-658
Number of pages20
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
EventA and WMA Indoor Environmental Quality: Problems, Research and Solutions Conference 2006 - Durham, NC, United States
Duration: Jul 17 2006Jul 19 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of the A and WMA Indoor Environmental Quality: Problems, Research and Solutions Conference 2006
Volume2

Other

OtherA and WMA Indoor Environmental Quality: Problems, Research and Solutions Conference 2006
CountryUnited States
CityDurham, NC
Period7/17/067/19/06

Keywords

  • Formaldehyde (VOCs)
  • Indoor air quality
  • Off-gassing
  • Office furniture emissions
  • Office workstation size
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

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  • Cite this

    Carter, R. D., & Zhang, J. S. (2006). Definition of standard office environments for evaluating the impact of office furniture emissions on indoor VOC concentrations. In Proceedings of the A and WMA Indoor Environmental Quality: Problems, Research and Solutions Conference 2006 (pp. 639-658). (Proceedings of the A and WMA Indoor Environmental Quality: Problems, Research and Solutions Conference 2006; Vol. 2).