Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: complete

Report Published November 2011:

Title: Quantifying pollution emissions from office equipment: a concern in energy-efficient buildings

Principal Investigator / Author(s): McKone, T. E.

Contractor: UC Berkeley

Contract Number: 04-302


Research Program Area: Health & Exposure, Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Indoor Air Quality, Stationary Sources


Abstract:

This study addresses emissions from office equipment with a literature review and measurements from two phases of controlled chamber experiments. Phase I experiments screened for the types of pollutants emitted from five classes of computers and printers placed in a 20 cubic meter stainless steel chamber. Phase II experiments measured volatile organic compounds, low‐molecular‐weight aldehydes, semi‐volatile organic compounds, siloxanes, ozone, and particulate matter emissions from individual devices in a 0.395 cubic meter chamber. Thirty volatile organic compounds and semi‐volatile organic compounds were identified among the chemicals emitted from operating computers, with combined emissions rates ranging between 200 to 740 micrograms per hour. Thirty‐five volatile organic compounds and semi‐volatile organic compounds were identified among the chemicals emitted from laser printers, with combined emissions rates ranging between 2,000 to 5,000 micrograms per hour of active printing. Laser printers had a geometric mean emission rate of 4.8◊108 fine and ultrafine particles per second of active printing. Chemical emissions did not correlate with power use for either computers or printers, but particle emissions from printers did correlate with power use. The greatest reduction in chemical emissions from computers was achieved by aging these devices. For all equipment, machine‐to‐machine variability in emissions rates was greater than any emissions reduction achieved by varying operational parameters.


 

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