Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Area-Specific Airflow Rates for Evaluating the Impacts of VOC Emissions in U.S. Single-Family Homes



Wenhao Chen, Andrew K. Persily, Alfred T. Hodgson, Francis J. Offerman, Dustin Poppendieck, Kazukiyo Kumagai


Product loading ratio and area-specific airflow rate are among the key parameters required for indoor air quality (IAQ) modeling and exposure health assessment of building product emissions. This paper analyzes product loading ratio variations and generates area-specific airflow rate distributions of major categories of interior building products for single family detached (SFD) homes in the U.S. The product categories addressed include ceiling, flooring, interior wallboard & paint, walls & wall coverings, doors, insulation and window treatments. The analysis employs a set of 83 SFD homes that are defined by Persily et al. (2006) as representing 80 % of U.S. housing stock built prior to 1998. We first calculate product loading ratios from floor plans of these homes. We then combine the loading ratios with the air change rates previously modeled using CONTAM by Persily et al. (2010) to develop a national, average area-specific airflow rate distribution for each product category. We further analyze the trends affecting area-specific airflow rate distributions in newer homes. Finally, we discuss the implications of these results on assessing IAQ impacts of building products, especially their application to improve product standards for volatile organic compound (VOC) emission testing and evaluation.
Building and Environment


Indoor air quality, Product loading ratio, Air change rate, Residential housing, Building products, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)


Chen, W. , Persily, A. , Hodgson, A. , Offerman, F. , Poppendieck, D. and Kumagai, K. (2013), Area-Specific Airflow Rates for Evaluating the Impacts of VOC Emissions in U.S. Single-Family Homes, Building and Environment, [online], (Accessed June 21, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 11, 2013, Updated October 12, 2021