ESBL has a new study out, which was just published in the journal Buildings. This interdisciplinary case-study examined the indoor environment and air quality of a newly-constructed, cross-laminated timber office building in Portland, OR. Researchers from ESBL, BioBE, PSU, and OSU (including the Tallwood Design Institute) came together to study indoor air quality, building vibration, bacteria in dust, and the experience of building occupants.
Monitored Indoor Environmental Quality of a Mass Timber Office Building: A Case Study
A broad range of building performance monitoring, sampling, and evaluation was conducted periodically after construction and spanning more than a year, for an occupied office building constructed using mass timber elements such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor and roof panels, as well as glue-laminated timber (GLT) beams and columns. This case study contributes research on monitoring indoor environmental quality in buildings, describing one of the few studies of an occupied mass timber building, and analyzing data in three areas that impact occupant experience: indoor air quality, bacterial community composition, and floor vibration. As a whole, the building was found to perform well. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde, were analyzed using multiple methods. Formaldehyde was found to be present in the building, though levels were below most recommended exposure limits. The source of formaldehyde was not able to be identified in this study. The richness of the bacterial community was affected by the height of sampling with respect to the floor, and richness and composition was affected by the location within the building. Floor vibration was observed to be below recognized human comfort thresholds.