Capabilities & Tools

Capabilities and Tools

Air Quality Testing LaboratoryChemist analyzing air samples

The Air Quality Testing Laboratory is a unique research facility for the development and validation of innovative air quality technologies.

The facility offers access to bench-scale experiments, room-sized chambers and a broad range of analytical facilities to:

  • Develop and test air cleaning technologies (active and passive).
  • Characterize building materials for pollutant and moisture control.
  • Optimize HVAC, ventilation and range hood technologies.
  • Evaluate exposure and health effects in occupants.
Technical Capabilities

Bench-Scale Experiments

Environmental chambers of various sizes, equipped for temperature and humidity control and for variable air flow to test small coupons (e.g. coatings, paints) under standardized conditions. Accelerated aging (weathering and soiling) of building materials.

Room-Sized Environmental Chambers

  • 20-m3 stainless-steel chamber with control of temperature and air exchange rate.
  • 50-m3 gypsum wallboard chamber with control of temperature and air exchange rate.
  • 18-m3 gypsum wallboard chamber with control of temperature and air exchange rate.

Field Demonstrations

  • Measurement of VOCs, SVOCs, volatile aldehydes, aerosol particles, temperature, relative humidity, air exchange rate.
Analytical Instrumentation
  • Proton Transfer Reaction – Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) for real-time analysis of VOCs.
  • Thermal Desorption / Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (TD/GC/MS).
  • Gas Chromatography / Ion Trap – Tandem Mass Spectrometry (GC/IT-MSMS).
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with UV and fluorescence detection.
  • Analysis of volatile aldehydes by DNPH derivatization.
  • BET and porosimetry analysis.
  • Fourier Transfer Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).
  • Tracer gas analytical equipments (mass spectrometer and acoustic infrared analyzer).
  • Scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS), condensation particle counter (CPC) and other instruments to measure particle concentrations and size distribution.
  • Real-time CO2, ozone, NOx and formaldehyde monitors.
Staff Scientist
Research Scientist

This Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Scientific Findings Resource Bank (IAQ-SFRB) serves as a resource for public health professionals, building professionals, and others who seek scientific information about the effects of IAQ on people's health or work performance. It provides information summarizing the state of scientific knowledge about the relationships between people's health and productivity and the IAQ conditions or associated building characteristics in which the people work or reside. The summaries also include brief descriptions of the actions that may be taken to improve the pertinent aspects of IAQ, including those related to building design, construction, operation, maintenance, and occupant activities. 

Group Leader
Deputy Group Leader

Kitchen Range Hood Capture Efficiency Testing

Capture efficiency is the percentage of pollutants emitted at the cooking surface that are captured by the exhaust hood. Our facility enables measurement of capture efficiency, sound level, and airflow for wall-mounted, island and downdraft exhaust systems. We can adjust how the range hood is installed, and measure pollutant capture efficiency using idealized emitters or during realistic cooking conditions using gas or electric fuel. We can simultaneously measure pollutant concentrations, such as as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, and fine particulates generated during cooking.

Group Leader
Mechanical Engineer

RTU Outdoor Airflow Testing

This unique test system for characterizing the accuracy of outdoor air measurement technologies (OAMTs) is located on the roof of a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory building. The evaluation system has a maximum flow rate of approximately 1,000 L s-1 (2100 cfm, or 2.7 m s-1 with a 24”x24” inlet), typical of a rooftop unit with 20kW (6 ton) of refrigeration capacity. A roof top location is desirable because wind speed and direction can affect the accuracy of an OAMT. In periods with precipitation or fog, small suspended water droplets may be carried into the RTU by the OA, possibly affecting measurement accuracy. The airflow rates indicated by the OAMTs are compared to airflow rates determined using downstream highly accurate nozzle flow meters (Thermo-Brandt Instruments) with upstream honeycomb airflow straighteners, connected to research-grade pressure transducers (Energy Conservatory APT). 

Research Scientist
Senior Scientific Engineering Associate

Population Impact Assessment Modeling Framework

The Population Impact Assessment Modeling (PIAM) Framework approach applies physics-based simulation model(s) to calculate one or more environmental or energy performance parameters for each home in a sample cohort selected or developed to represent a population. Results from the individual homes are compiled to provide the statistics for population impacts. The approach can be applied at varying temporal or spatial scales. PIAMF is currently used to address specifc policy questions on energy use and indoor air quality in homes.

Group Leader
Research Scientist