The German Committee on Indoor Air Guide Values (AIR) has recently unveiled the latest revision of their Odour Guide Values (OGVs), available on their website as of August 2023. These updated values are the result of a meticulous review and integration of new scientific and analytical findings, further enhancing their commitment to addressing indoor air quality concerns.
The OGVs are used to assess the plausibility of complaints about odour annoyance in indoor air. These values indicate the threshold at which measures should be taken to minimize odour exposure. OGVs are established to address concerns about exposure to indoor air pollutants causing unusual or unpleasant odours. The focus is on potential annoyance effects associated with indoor air quality.
OGVs are relevant when occupants express complaints about odour annoyance. The comparison of indoor air measurements with OGVs is justified in such cases following a certain methodology described in detail in the following paper (in German). This new paper is an update of the methodology proposed in 2014, which considered several factors to try to tackle the issue. In this case, the method of calculation of the OGVs has been much simplified.
When OGVs are reached or exceeded, a concept of graded measures is recommended to minimize odour exposure. The success or failure of these measures is determined by whether complaints persist.
The OGVs table on the AIR website is regularly updated based on new scientific and analytical findings, ensuring its relevance. While an objective method for investigating the hedonic (pleasant or unpleasant) nature of an odorant exists, the AIR emphasizes that OGV are primarily based on complaints, and hedonic factors are implicitly considered.
OGVs are specific to cases where occupants report odour annoyance. The OGV values are calculated taking into account the odour concentration when the intensity level is 3 (distinct odour).
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