Organization profile

Head of Research Group:

Research focus

  • Indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Indoor pollution sources
  • Thermal comfort
  • PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • Mold and moisture problems
  • SVOC and VOC (semi-volatile organic compounds and volatile organic compounds)
  • User behavior
  • Indoor climate and public health

Societal challenges
Most Danes spend 80-90 % of their time indoor, and our buildings are therefore a fundamental part of our well-being. The indoor environment is essential for our health, comfort and productivity - and every year, poor indoor environment claims 22,000 disability-adjusted years of life in Denmark alone.

The need for new knowledge
The risks of a poor indoor environment and the benefits of investing in a good indoor environment are not adequately documented and therefore not obvious to building users, building owners and the many stakeholders in the building industry. There is a need for knowledge and targeted communication on how to avoid harmful exposure through material choices, construction solutions and changed user behavior. The increasing innovation and internationalization also calls for new research to expand existing knowledge and renew traditions in the building industry.

Research efforts 
The research group produces, disseminates and communicates knowledge that improves or maintains a good indoor environment in homes, offices, schools and daycare facilities. Our research is based on a holistic understanding of the many processes and factors affecting the indoor environment as well as the building users’ health and well-being. The research focuses on contributing the best possible solutions to current societal issues.

The research is based on laboratory and field experiments, intervention and demonstration projects and analyses of data from questionnaires and national data registries. We have expertise in in thermal comfort, indoor air quality, mycology, chemistry, humidity, user behavior, perception and public health. We furthermore communicate knowledge to the building industry and to building users.

Our primary focus areas:

  • Improve the understanding of conditions leading to indoor air pollution.
  • Extend knowledge to estimate the risk of mold growth in buildings.
  • Explore the possibilities of reducing humidity problems and its negative health impacts on building users.
  • Develop tools for operating staff and residents to improve indoor climate related to building user behavior.
  • Investigate PCB (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) contamination of buildings through measurements and studies of emission, distribution and deposition, and hereby work for better remedial actions and exposure scale.
  • Investigate the occurrence and characteristics of SVOCs (semi-volatile organic compounds), as building materials and mold release SVOCs throughout the entire lifespan in the indoor environment.
  • Examine the conditions leading to penetration of contaminants from the underground, such as radon or man-made pollution like tar compounds (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, PAH) and chlorinated solvents.
  • Gather data on indoor environment conditions in buildings to recommend renovation measures or changes to legislation.
  • Gain knowledge of building materials as contamination sources, whether new or recycled materials.
  • Obtain new knowledge of the importance of the indoor environment to public health, for example respiratory infections.

Cooperation
Several research fields relates to Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) and new knowledge is often achieved where different specialist areas interact. This provides for collaboration in Denmark and abroad, and the research group collaborates with medical, epidemiological, toxicological and analytical chemistry experts. Several projects are carried out together with the building industry, among others manufacturers, building consultants, building operations as well as government bodies. This supports innovation, relevancy and communication.

Use
Our research is used by the building industry, authorities and other researchers. Research findings are incorporated in recommendations and reports published by The Department of the Built Environment (BUILD), and used in education and courses. Part of our communication is targeted ordinary building users.

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