Volatile Organic Compound Concentrations and Emission Rates in New Manufactured and Site-Built Houses
Concentrations of 54 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ventilation rates were measured in four new manufactured houses over 2-9.5 months following installation and in seven new site-built houses 1-2 months after completion. The houses were in four projects located in hot-humid and mixed-humid climates. They were finished and operational, but unoccupied. Ventilation rates ranged from 0.14-0.78 h-1. Several of the site-built houses had ventilation rates below the ASHRAE recommended value. In both manufactured and site-built houses, the predominant airborne compounds were alpha-pinene, formaldehyde, hexanal, and acetic acid. Formaldehyde concentrations were below or near 50 ppb with a geometric mean value for all houses of 40 ppb. Similarities in the types of VOCs and in VOC concentrations indicated that indoor air quality in the houses was impacted by the same or similar sources. Major identified sources included plywood flooring, latex paint and sheet vinyl flooring. One site-built house was operated at ventilation rates of 0.14 and 0.32 h-1. VOC emission rates calculated at the two conditions agreed within +/- 10% for the most volatile compounds. Generally, the ratios of emission rates at the low and high ventilation rates decreased with decreasing compound volatility. Changes in VOC emission rates in the manufactured houses over 2-9.5 months after installation varied by compound. Only several compounds showed a consistent decrease in emission rate over this period.