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Indoor Air Quality Analyses of Commercial Reference Buildings



Lisa C. Ng, Amy Musser, Andrew K. Persily, Steven J. Emmerich


Sixteen commercial reference buildings were created in the multizone airflow and contaminant transport program CONTAM in order to support airflow and indoor air quality (IAQ) analyses, which are not possible using the existing EnergyPlus input files for these buildings. Annual airflow and contaminant simulations were performed in CONTAM for six of the buildings. Contaminant analyses were performed for occupant generated carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds (VOC) from indoor sources, outdoor particulate matter, and outdoor ozone. In all of the selected buildings and zones, the simulated indoor ozone and PM2.5 concentrations did not exceed indoor limits set by the World Health Organization. For CO2 and VOC, for which no similarly relevant indoor concentration standards or limits exist, the simulated concentrations were within expected ranges based on published field measurements in commercial buildings. The results of this study provide a baseline for subsequent use of these models to investigate approaches to building ventilation and other technologies that are intended to simultaneously reduce building energy consumption while maintaining or improving indoor air quality.
Building and Environment
Report Number


airflow, CONTAM, EnergyPlus, reference buildings, ventilation


Ng, L. , Musser, A. , Persily, A. and Emmerich, S. (2012), Indoor Air Quality Analyses of Commercial Reference Buildings, Building and Environment, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created November 1, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017