LBNL Report Number
A first-order, lumped capacitance model is used to describe the buffering of airborne chemical species by building materials and furnishings in the indoor environment. The model is applied to describe the interaction between formaldehyde in building materials and the concentration of the species in the indoor air. Storage buffering can decrease the effect of ventilation on the indoor concentration, compared to the inverse dependence of indoor concentration on the air exchange rate that is consistent with a constant emission rate source. If the exposure time of an occupant is long relative to the time scale of depletion of the compound from the storage medium, however, the total exposure will depend inversely on the air exchange rate. This lumped capacitance model is also applied to moisture buffering in the indoor environment, which occurs over much shorter depletion timescales of the order of days. This model provides a framework to interpret the impact of storage buffering on time-varying concentrations of chemical species and resulting occupant exposure. Pseudo-steady state behavior is validated using field measurements. Model behavior over longer times is consistent with formaldehyde and moisture concentration measurements in previous studies.