Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing

Indoor Air Quality Testing and Standards for Buildings

Analytical Services for Building Investigations

Since 1989, Berkeley Analytical (BkA) has provided industrial hygienists, engineering companies, environmental health and safety departments of schools, hospitals, and other organizations with high quality indoor air quality (IAQ) testing services tailored to the customers’ objectives. BkA’s support services for IAQ investigations include:

  • Thermal desorption GC/MS analysis of VOCs collected on sorbent tubes (BkA supplies cleaned tubes for your use)
  • Analysis of sampling cartridges and passive samplers for formaldehyde and other low molecular weight carbonyl compounds
  • Analysis of air samples collected on low-volume PUF cartridges for phthalate esters and flame retardants
  • Analysis of dust samples and surface wipe samples for phthalate esters and flame retardants
  • VOC emission chamber studies of field collected products and materials - studies are tailored to your project objectives
  • LEED pre-occupancy study support
  • Odor complaint investigations
  • Indoor product selection for new construction

View our VOC sampling guides and contact us to discuss your IAQ testing objectives and request a quotation. Berkeley Analytical has 26 years of experience in IAQ investigations. In many cases, we can offer advice on cost-effective and productive sampling and analytical strategies to help you to provide effective solutions to your clients for solving indoor air quality problems and meeting indoor air quality standards and guidelines.

LEED EQ Credit: Indoor Air Quality Assessment

Pre-occupancy studies often are conducted for USGBC LEED® projects. Under LEED 2009 IEQ Credit 3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan, air samples are collected throughout a building for the analysis of formaldehyde, total VOCs, and 4-phenylcyclohexene (4-PCH), a chemical associated with new carpet odor. The new LEED v4, EQ Credit: Indoor Air Quality Assessment, Option 2 requires the measurement of the individual VOCs in CDPH Standard Method V1.1 plus formaldehyde and total VOCs (TVOC). The test methods include U.S. EPA Method TO-17 for VOCs and TVOC and ASTM D5197 for formaldehyde. BkA is ISO/IEC 17025 accredited for these methods as required by the LEED credit. BkA supplies the necessary air sampling media and delivers rapid turn-around times for analytical results to help you meet tight building completion and occupant move-in schedules.

Odor Investigations

As a society, we spend on average about 90% of our time in buildings. Not surprisingly, complaints about poor IAQ, such as the presence of annoying odors, are common. Besides being unpleasant, such odors can adversely affect worker and student productivity. In many cases, building odors are due to a VOC source that is discoverable by air sampling and analysis.

BkA has a long history of helping customers diagnose odor complaints in buildings. Our analytical reports for odor investigations identify and quantify all of the VOC constituents of air samples down to trace levels. This attention to detail is essential as some chemicals produce objectionable odors at very low concentrations.

BkA also has extensive experience helping building product and furniture manufacturers address odor complaints received from their customers. Product complaints are serious concerns as they have the potential to directly impact sales. BkA uses its extensive chamber testing facilities plus detailed chemical analysis to isolate and to identify the sources of these odors.

Product Selection for Healthy Indoor Environments

Interest in more sustainable and healthy building construction practices is expanding. Also, innovative interior building products are constantly being introduced allowing architects and building owners extensive choices in their selection of materials. Testing of products for VOC emissions as part of the design-phase product selection process can help to avoid unpleasant surprises such as objectionable odors and to achieve acceptable IAQ.

BkA has co-authored a report under a NIST contract that provides a detailed indoor air quality architectural specification for use in residential new construction and renovation. The IAQ specification provides best practices for reducing indoor sources of formaldehyde and other VOCs. The specification provides guidance on the testing of interior products for VOC emissions by CDPH Standard Method V1.1.

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