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Volative organic compound (VOC) detectors: keep your building healthy.

One of the things we have noticed is the increased interest in healthy buildings. In particular, a recent change in building is the increasing use of airtight construction which can have an effect on occupiers health.

VOCs and why you need a detector

Airtight buildings prevent the energy loss from the uncontrolled air flow through the property. However, buildings still need fresh air which is provided by ventilation. Modern buildings try and strike a balance between fresh air and ventilation heat losses. The consequence of this reduced air flow through the property is an increase build up of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs are a variety of chemicals that can cause health problems. The chart below gives an indication of VOC concentrations (green line).

VOCs: how to keep your building healthy

VOC levels are correlated by occupancy (blue on the chart above) and also drop off at night. However they appear to go up at around midday. This increase is called 'off gassing' and is probably caused as the sun rotates around the building and then the sunlight hits some modern material; furniture, carpet etc which causes the release of VOC’s.

Most people are unaffected by VOC’s at low concentration but some people can be allergic to them and at increased levels they can cause a variety of health issues which are described by the EPA.

The VOC’s can be measured by an Atamate control system and the correct mechanical system can be used to control the VOC levels.