AirGradient TVOC Monitoring Survey Results

by Achim Haug

Total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.

VOCs are emitted by thousands of different products for example: Paints and lacquers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials, furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

Due to this complexity, it is a difficult air parameter to measure and we wanted to better understand the opinions of people on it. So we initiated the TVOC survey and received responses from 79 people all around the world.

Here is a summary of the results:

  • 66% of survey participants are monitoring air in lodging/residential buildings, 33% monitor air in commercial buildings while 2% monitor air in retail store, healthcare buildings, higher education buildings etc

  • A total of 85% of participants found the TVOC very important while 15% feel TVOC wasn’t important at all.

  • On the accuracy of the TVOC measurements no participants rated them as either very accurate or very inaccurate and more than half believe they deliver an “average” accuracy.

  • Majority of the survey participants preferred the TVOC values to be in ppb and µg/m3 and only around 6% preferred an index based representation. In the comments, we received interesting arguments for both representations:

    • One participant stated that it is a good development because it removes the need of having to interpret absolute measurements and drawing the right conclusions.
    • But other participants stressed the importance of absolute measurements: ‘’the absolute measurement should always remain available to the user. With the absolute measurement the user or OEM can provide index based measurements on top of it while keeping the absolute measurement available’’.
  • High equipment cost, poor accuracy and Data platform / dashboard / displays were among the general pain points that 90% of participants had with existing indoor air quality monitors.

Questions asked:

  1. What type of building(s) are you using monitoring in?
  2. How important is the TVOC measurements for you?
  3. What is your opinion on the accurateness of TVOC measurements in commercial indoor air quality monitors?…. (Scale from 1 (not important) .. 5 (very important)
  4. In what unit do you prefer the TVOC values?
  5. Newer generations of TVOC sensors (e.g. Sensirion SGP40) move away from absolute measurements towards index based measurements. What do you think about this development?
  6. What are your general pain points with existing indoor air quality monitors?