Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Overview of HOMEChem: House Observations of Microbial and Environmental Chemistry


The House Observations of Microbial and Environmental Chemistry (HOMEChem) study is a collaborative field investigation designed to probe how everyday activities influence the emissions, chemical transformations and removal of trace gases and particles in indoor air. Sequential and layered experiments in a research house included cooking, cleaning, variable occupancy, and window-opening. This paper describes the overall design of HOMEChem and presents preliminary case studies investigating the concentrations of reactive trace gases, aerosol particles, and surface films. Cooking was a large source of VOCs, CO2, NOx, and particles. By number, cooking particles were predominantly in the ultrafine mode. Organic aerosol dominated the submicron mass, and, while variable between meals and throughout the cooking process, was dominated by components of hydrocarbon character and low oxygen content, similar to cooking oil. Air exchange in the house ensured that cooking particles were present for only short periods. During unoccupied background intervals, particle concentrations were lower indoors than outdoors. The cooling coils of the house ventilation system induced cyclic changes in water soluble gases. Even during unoccupied periods, concentrations of many organic trace gases were higher indoors than outdoors, consistent with housing materials being potential sources of these compounds to the outdoor environment. Organic material accumulated on indoor surfaces, and exhibited chemical signatures similar to indoor organic aerosol.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View