Major test facilities

This major scientific research facility on indoor pollution has 2000 m² of laboratories and resources for experiments on the sanitary quality of building products, equipment and structures. ARIA contributes to assessing and managing sanitary risks in the fields of air and water.

Indoor Environment Microbiology Laboratory (LMEI)

Legionella in water and the air

Biologists at the CSTB devote part of their research work to gaining a better understanding of how Legionella develop in water and propagate in the air, in order to test the processes developed by manufacturers, based on reliable and confirmed methods.

Enclosed spaces: microbiological quality of the air

The CSTB conducts research to improve hygiene in enclosed spaces and to prevent microbial-induced sanitary risks found in buildings. It focuses on metrology, inventory, occurrence and emissions factors, using operational tools. The aim is to understand the biotic and abiotic factors of the environments responsible for the dissemination, transfer and survival of air-borne microorganisms in enclosed spaces.

The POLLEM laboratory

The POLLEM laboratory is specialized in measuring chemical pollutants in indoor air and characterizing the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and aldehydes (including formaldehyde) emitted by certain construction products.
Using environmental chambers, researchers create realistic usage conditions of materials in terms of temperature, humidity and air circulation. The POLLEM laboratory plays a key role in assessing the sanitary safety of products by testing emissions so that products may be suitably labeled.


The Automated House for Innovative Air Research (Maison Automatisée pour des Recherches Innovantes sur l'Air or MARIA) is a full scale experimental house fitted with modular ventilation systems and instrumentation to simulate human presence. Sequences of daily life are reconstructed to study the movement of air between rooms under controlled ventilation and, more generally to study the connection between ventilation and indoor air quality. Many types of studies and characterizations are carried out: pollutant transportation, particle deposit, nanoparticle transportation, performance of distributed mechanical ventilation systems, VOC and formaldehyde emissions.

Materials and Technologies Laboratory for the Study of Indoor Environments (MATEI)

The CSTB, which runs the Observatory on Indoor Air Quality, manages a vast collection of equipment for on-site measurements to characterize comfort parameters and the physico-chemical properties of indoor environments (homes, childcare centers, schools, offices, retirement homes). A wide variety of parameters can be studied: particles, fibers, organic and inorganic gas compounds, dust on surfaces, temperature, humidity, airflow, etc. The techniques used may be active or passive, continuous or not, depending on the requirements of each study. Installation of the equipment on site is based on a customized sampling strategy defined according to the goals and resources. The MATEI laboratory also has tools for the statistical processing of the collected data, for managing complex data bases and has unique know-how in searching for the sources and determinants of observed pollution, providing clues to ways of correcting the problem.