VOC contributions from building materials, furniture, and user equipment in low emitting and modular classrooms
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This study aimed to assess whether building materials, furniture, and user equipment are sources of pollution that would influence the need for ventilation. Between 2017-2020, measurements were taken in four regular classrooms in a low emitting school and four modular classrooms in a prefabricated school. Weekly passive sampling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and aldehydes were carried out in the classrooms under the following four conditions: 1) emptied, 2) furnished, 3) with furniture and user equipment, and 4) during normal use. For the first three conditions, the classrooms were measured with either no ventilation or "low" airflow rates. Total VOC (TVOC) concentrations were up to ten times higher in the unventilated classroom at the prefabricated school compared to classrooms at the low emitting school (<450 µg/m3 for conditions 1-2). Our results show the importance of selecting low emitting building materials and proper ventilation.