Materials selection and construction practices significantly affect Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). While there are many individual studies on the effect of building materials on thermal comfort, day lighting, and other factors of IEQ, further investigations are needed to study their effect on the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in hot arid climates, such as Egypt. Construction materials contribute to the emission of air pollutants in indoor environments; consequently occupants are exposed to multiple pollutants simultaneously as an apparent interaction between the different types of construction materials and room temperature. Limited information is published on specific standards and guidelines for the IAQ considerations in Egypt. Human health and safety are two core values in sustainable development. Hence, the goal of this work is to investigate the impact of the built environment, namely, construction materials on IAQ. The study first identifies pollutant sources and their corresponding health impact due to short term and long-term exposure. The study also aims at quantifying the levels of a group of pollutants at a steady state controlled environment and to propose effective source control strategies for their reduction and possibly elimination. Field studies were conducted during January and February in Cairo to monitor Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde (HCHO), ammonia (NH3), radon gas and particulate matter (PM2.5) and (PM10) activity. The indoor air is monitored in nine locations, four during the construction process and five after the completion of construction. Chemical analysis and direct reading devices are used for air sampling and monitoring, in addition to recording indoor and outdoor relative humidity, temperature and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) concentrations. The results of this work offer: recommendations to the types of materials that should be eliminated or improved to reach desirable IAQ conditions in hot arid climatic zones; and the development of an IAQ index as an assessment method that compares the measured parameters to existing recommended standards. The data gathering challenges are recorded and collected data is tabulated. The results of this study reveal a variation within the recommended benchmarks after the completion of construction and with the application of different finishing materials. The results also reveal that the concentration of some pollutants decreased within the first year of construction, others have remained above target limits. The results contribute to the decision making process among engineers regarding the selection of appropriate materials to reduce negative impacts through the implementation of appropriate source control strategies. Based on the conclusions and limitations of this study, recommendations for future work are documented.
Construction Engineering Department
MS in Construction Engineering
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Mohamed Nagib Abou Zeid, Khaled Tarabieh
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Library of Congress Subject Heading 1
Indoor air pollution -- Egypt.
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Building materials -- Egypt.
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(2015).Effect of building materials on indoor air quality in residential buildings in Egypt: A pre occupancy assessment [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Wagdi, Dalia. Effect of building materials on indoor air quality in residential buildings in Egypt: A pre occupancy assessment. 2015. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.