ARB Research Seminar

This page updated July 23, 2013

EPA's Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation Study (BASE): What Have We Learned?

John Girman, Indoor Environments Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

January 08, 2009
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



Indoor air quality and key factors that influence it were extensively studied in 100 randomly selected office buildings located across the continental USA. Occupant symptoms and perceptions of indoor air quality (IAQ) were also characterized in the study.  A primary goal of the study was to establish normative or baseline data for these many factors and to provide a foundation for examining relationships among these factors and occupants’ perceptions and symptoms.

This presentation will provide a brief summary of the study goals and the study design, and key results from the study to date. The core parameters studied included: (1) environmental measures, e.g., temperature and relative humidity, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, sound, light, PM, VOCs including formaldehyde, biological contaminants, and radon; (2) building characteristics, e.g., building use, occupancy, physical location, outdoor sources, water damage, renovation, and pest control and cleaning practices; (3) HVAC characteristics, e.g., specifications, filtration, any air cleaning or humidification, maintenance, supply air flow, outdoor air intake, percent outdoor air, supply air temperature and RH and exhaust air flow; and (4) an occupant questionnaire, e.g., work place characteristics, health and well being, job characteristics, workplace stressors and non-workplace stressors. The data collected from this study comprise the largest, most comprehensive single data set on IAQ in U.S. office buildings. Highlights will be presented from the over twenty publications which have resulted from the BASE study. These include ventilation rates; prevalence of pollutant sources; concentrations of VOCs, allergens, fungi, bacteria and PM; frequency of occupant symptoms; and analyses that examined the relationships among building factors, IAQ and symptoms in this building data set.

Speaker Biography

John Girman is the Senior Science Advisor for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Indoor Environments Division, where he is responsible for the technical analysis and content of reports and guidance documents on indoor air quality, as well as for providing technical input into policy decisions and developing research agendas for indoor air quality.  Previously, Mr. Girman was the Deputy Manager of the Indoor Air Program in California’s Department of Health Services and a Group Leader/Principal Investigator in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Indoor Environment Program.  Mr. Girman has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications and reports on indoor air quality.  Mr. Girman is a founding member of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate and has served as its Vice President (Policy) and as a Trustee.  Mr. Girman also served as an Editorial Advisor for the journal Indoor Air, as a Councilor for the International Society of Exposure Assessment (ISEA) and a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE’s) Environmental Health Committee and ASHRAE’s Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality Committee.  Mr. Girman was elected to the International Academy of Indoor Air Quality Sciences in 1997.

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