Student and Faculty Team Measures Indoor Air Quality Attributes of Interior Building Materials, Finishes & Cleaning Products

Paulette R. Hebert
Professor at Design, Housing and Merchandising, College of Education and Human Sciences, Oklahoma State University
Hebatalla Nazmy
Assistant Professor at Design, Housing and Merchandising, College of Education and Human Sciences, Oklahoma State University
Aditya Jayadas
Associate Professor at Design, Housing and Merchandising, College of Education and Human Sciences, Oklahoma State University

Researchers explored Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) associated with building materials, finishes, and bleach cleaning with their students via 1) assigned readings; 2) pre-recorded lectures delivered by IAQ experts; 3) experiments with an IAQ monitor. “Hands-on” IAQ activities were conducted in the University’s technology laboratory during 75-minute class sessions and included 1) a trial study conducted with four materials and finishes; 2) activity #1, a faculty-led experimental study with 25 students and four materials and finishes; 3) activity #2, a faculty-led experimental study conducted with 25 students and 16 building materials and finishes. Awair Element IAQ monitor was utilized to measure attributes: temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), fine particulate matter 2.5 Mm (PM2.5), and overall IAQ that can potentially impact health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants. Faculty researchers refined their methodology; photo-documented IAQ tests via smartphone photography and videography; developed, tested, and revised spreadsheets to organize observations; determined overall logistics. After Activity #1, an IRB-approved pre-test survey was administered to capture the students’ awareness, experiences, and perceptions regarding the IAQ exercise. After Activity #2, an IRB-approved post-test survey was administered. Findings varied across materials. This unique study utilized empirical tests to educate college students regarding IAQ.

Keywords: Indoor Air Quality, Building Material, VOC

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