Indoor Air Quality

Many products such as paint, adhesives, carpets, furniture finishes, and cleaners often include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which negatively affect indoor air quality and can cause numerous health problems such as headaches and irritation of the eyes and throat. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has found concentrations of VOCs in indoor air are often 2 to 5 times greater than in outdoor air and sometimes far greater. In certain circumstances, indoor levels of VOCs may reach 1,000 times that of the outside air. Improved air quality is safer for employees and can lead to greater productivity.

The Alliance created a matrix to help you assess the cost effectiveness of each of the following strategies by comparing the level of operational investment to potential environmental impact.

Periodic Action  Property Manager Involvement
Habitual Action  Lower-Impact
Policy-Driven  Higher-Impact


Eliminate Cleaning Products with VOCs

Numerous effective cleaning products are available that do not use VOCs. Ask your cleaning service to use cleaning products that have been certified by Green Seal. The Green Seal website has an extensive list of green cleaning products.

Consider VOC Emissions when Purchasing Office Furniture, Carpeting, Paint and Equipment   

Increasingly, producers of these commodities are providing information about the amount of VOCs and other potentially harmful compounds in their products. Organizations can make an effort to select those with the least amount of these compounds. Visit Ecolife’s guide to low-VOC paint.

Provide and Encourage the Use of Plants

Plants can improve indoor air quality. Some people are sensitive to flowering plants, so organizations may want to focus on those that do not flower.


California Department of Public Health Indoor Air Quality Program