Searchable Databases for Indoor Air Quality Analysis

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff March 15, 2007

The Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL), part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has developed a series of searchable databases of indoor air quality (IAQ) model input data that may be used to estimate building contaminant concentration levels and associated occupant exposures.

Database structures have been designed for compiling volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates from building materials, particle and inorganic gas emission rates from indoor combustion sources, particle deposition rates, VOC sorption rates and particle filtration efficiencies.

Although many of these input data are available in the literature, they have not previously been compiled in a readily accessible format. As a result of BFRL’s efforts, the IAQ community now has a standard format to organize model input data for assessments of data quality, trends and gaps, as well as for convenient use in IAQ models.

In addition, BFRL developed ContamLink, a software tool to search the databases and create data libraries for use in the indoor air quality and ventilation model CONTAM. These databases and the software tool have been documented in NISTIR 7364 and are available at the CONTAM website , .

The mission of BFRL is to study building materials; computer-integrated construction practices; fire science and fire safety engineering; and structural, mechanical, and environmental engineering. Products of the laboratory’s research include measurements and test methods, performance criteria and technical data that support innovations by industry and are incorporated into building and fire standards and codes.