Reference values for structure emissions measured on site in new residential buildings in Finland

Helena Järnström, Kristina Saarela, Pentti Kalliokoski, A.-L. Pasanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


A 3-year research project was established in 1999 to create numerical reference data for material emissions during the time of construction and during the first year. Seven buildings, representing the present construction practice in Finland, were investigated. Material emissions were measured by using the field and laboratory cell (FLEC) during the time of construction, in the newly finished, and in the 6- and 12-month-old buildings. The emission rates for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and ammonia were determined.

The highest total VOCs (TVOC) emissions were measured in the newly finished buildings from the ceiling structure and from some of the PVC floor coverings. These emissions were up to 1300–2000 μg m−2 h−1. Individual VOCs with emission rates above 50 μg m−2 h−1 included 2-(2-butoxyethoxy) ethanol and its acetate, C4–C16-substituted alkylbenzenes, and xylenes.
The mean TVOC emission decreased at least to the Finnish M1-class level (200 μg m−2 h−1) from all surfaces and in all the buildings in 6–12 months. The ammonia and formaldehyde emissions from the ceiling structure were 20–60 μg m−2 h−1 in the newly finished buildings and the M1-levels (30/50 μg m−2 h−1) were exceeded in some cases. These emissions even increased in some buildings during the follow-up period indicating the difference between emissions measured in the laboratory and on site from real structures.
Reference values based on the means and 95th percentile are presented to be utilised in both quality control and while investigating indoor air quality problems which are suspected to be caused by a defect structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2290-2302
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • material emission
  • indoor air
  • voc
  • volatile organic compounds
  • ammonia
  • formaldehyde
  • reference value


Dive into the research topics of 'Reference values for structure emissions measured on site in new residential buildings in Finland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this