IA-Quest: indoor air quality emission simulation tool

Overview of the tool

Canadians spend 90% of their time indoors, making indoor air quality (IAQ) an important issue. Testing conducted at the National Research Council (NRC) has identified building materials as key sources of indoor pollutants. Controlling these sources is the most effective strategy to improving IAQ.

Experts at the NRC have developed indoor air quality prediction software called IA-Quest (Indoor Air Quality Emission Simulation Tool). IA-Quest provides a database of materials and their measured emissions, allowing materials to be selected based on low emissions. In addition, the tool predicts the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from building materials and furnishings, helping to quantify the effect of low-emission materials and effective ventilation strategies on IAQ.

IA-Quest users can:

  • browse a database of measured emission characteristics for various building materials
  • query and search the database
  • browse properties and health effects, if any, of the modeled chemicals
  • conduct simulations to assess the VOC emission impact of selected materials based on the amount of materials used and the ventilation rates
  • generate reports on emission characteristics and simulation results.

Targeted audience

Many users can benefit from IA-Quest:

  • manufacturers of building materials interested in evaluation or development of products
  • building designers, renovators and managers interested in creating low-VOC environments for their occupants
  • researchers and educators

Description of the tool

The IA-Quest software consists of 2 parts: a database and a simulation component. The database provides information on the emission ("off-gassing") of health-relevant "target" VOCs, abundant VOCs and TVOC (total VOC) from building materials commonly used in Canada. Specimen details and test conditions are available as well.

The simulation component of IA-Quest calculates the concentrations of contaminants that would occur in a room with known ventilation rate and schedule due to emissions from materials contained within that space. The calculation of concentrations assumes a simple single-zone mixing model. The emission characteristics of materials are obtained from the database packaged within the program.

Users need to have the following information to simulate indoor air concentrations of chemicals arising from single or multiple building materials:

  • volume of the space
  • ventilation rate and schedule
  • materials (selected from database). For each material:
    • exposed/emitting surface area
    • entry and removal times to/from the space
  • simulation period


IA-Quest predicts the emission of VOCs from building materials and furnishings, helping to select low-emission materials and effective ventilation strategies.


IA-Quest is distributed as free software.

IA-Quest is both a database of material emission test results and an indoor air quality simulation program, including documentation to explain or assist in the use of the software product. The NRC does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the software or any information incorporated in the database of the software.

Download IA-Quest

Download IA-Quest

Related links

Contact us

General enquiries

Email: IAQuest@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Business enquiries

Chris Pezoulas, Director, Business Development
Telephone: 613-993-9502
Email: Christopher.Pezoulas@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca