Air quality inside buildings

Air sampling in a meeting room
© Fraunhofer IBP
Air sampling on organic compounds in a meeting room.

Analysis and optimization of indoor air quality

In industrialized countries, people often spend more than 80 percent of their time indoors. Indoor areas are not just rooms in buildings, but also the interior of means of transport. The quality of the indoor air is affected by many factors:

  • Ventilation
  • Number of people in the room and what they are doing
  • Emissions from building products and fittings
  • Moisture damage and microbial infestation
  • Undesirable substances getting into the supply air

The most common substances or groups of substances responsible for complaints about the quality of the indoor air or considered to be of hygienic concern are:

  • Carbon dioxide in excessive concentrations
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Wood preservatives (e.g. PCP)
  • Substances contained in building products used in the past (e.g. PAHs, PCBs)
  • Undesirable odorous substances
  • Fine dust and nanoparticles
  • Microorganisms (e.g. mold spores)
  • Viruses

Scientific tests on indoor air quality

Using our state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, our trained specialists detect the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs and odor-active substances), carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and microbial contaminants in the indoor air.

Possible causes of poor indoor air quality

Odor problems can have several causes:

  • Incompatible material combinations
  • Use of unsuitable cleaning agents
  • Excessive residual moisture during installation
  • Water damage
  • Failed renovation measures

Measures to improve indoor air quality

With the help of zonal simulations, we find out which measures are suitable for improving ventilation without sacrificing comfort or requiring high amounts of energy. Tracer gas tests not only provide the input parameters for the zonal simulation but also confirm the effectiveness of the measures.

Based on the test results, we develop recommendations for you to improve your indoor air quality. Key measures include:

  • Improving ventilation
  • Eliminating or isolating sources of emissions
  • Eliminating or isolating sources of odors
  • Repairing damage caused by moisture and mold
  • Using indoor air purifiers or devices for disinfecting the indoor air  


Our scientists are experts in the fields of odor analysis, microbiology and indoor air chemistry. They will assist you in identifying the sources of pollutants and recommend practical and targeted solutions.

Low-emission building products are essential when it comes to good indoor air quality. In our test laboratory, which is accredited according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025:2018, we conduct test chamber tests according to DIN EN 16516, such as those required when applying for the Blue Angel or the GEV-EMICODE eco-label.

As a result of the pandemic, there is an increasing demand for measures to reduce germ contamination in indoor areas. We can help you by devising suitable concepts, conducting laboratory tests on a real-world scale and by performing on-site measurements.

Industry projects

  • Support with constructing buildings with low-emission building materials
  • Identification and localization of emission sources
  • Emission tests on building products
  • Efficiency studies on mobile air purifiers

Further information