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Terms for Green Architecture, Building & Energy

This glossary includes more than 300 solar terms, as well as hundreds of additional sustainable design and construction terms.

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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Definition: VOCs are chemicals that contain carbon molecules and are volatile enough to evaporate from material surfaces into indoor air at normal room temperatures (referred to as off-gassing). Examples of building materials that may contain VOCs include, but are not limited to: solvents, paints, adhesives, carpeting and particleboard. Signs or symptoms of VOC exposure may include eye and upper respiratory irritation, nasal congestion, headache and dizziness.