Indoor air quality investigation according to age of the school buildings in Korea

Wonho Yang, Jongryeul Sohn, Jihwan Kim, Busoon Son, Jinchul Park

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167 Citations (Scopus)


Since the majority of schools are housed in buildings dating from the 1960s and 1970s, a comprehensive construction and renovation program of school buildings has been carried out to improve the educational conditions in Korea. However, classrooms and computer rooms, with pressed wood desks, chairs and furnishings, as well as construction materials, might have negative effects on the indoor air quality. Furthermore, most schools have naturally ventilated classrooms. The purpose of this study was to characterize the concentrations of different indoor air pollutants within Korean schools and to compare their indoor levels within schools according to the age of school buildings. Indoor and outdoor air samples of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter (PM10), total microbial count (TBC), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) and formaldehyde (HCHO) were obtained during summer, autumn and winter from three sites; a classroom, a laboratory and a computer classroom at 55 different schools. The selection of the schools was based on the number of years since the schools had been constructed. The problems causing indoor air pollution at the schools were chemicals emitted by building materials or furnishings, and insufficient ventilation rates. The I/O ratio for HCHO was 6.32 during the autumn, and the indoor HCHO concentrations (mean = 0.16 ppm) in schools constructed within 1 year were significantly higher than the Korean Indoor Air Standard, indicating that schools have indoor sources of HCHO. Therefore, increasing the ventilation rate by means of a mechanical system and the use of low-emission furnishings can play key roles in improving the indoor air quality within schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-354
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan


  • Indoor air quality
  • New construction
  • School
  • Season

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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