Olf – definition and meaning

An olf is a unit we use to measure air pollution strength from a source. It measures the scent emission of a person, animal, or any object. The word derives from Olfactus, which means ‘smelled.’

One unit represents what a human emits at rest. Specifically, a human who takes about 0.7 baths each day and has a surface area of 1.8 meters squared. In other words, an average human. This average person also works in an office, is a non-smoker, and is generally healthy.

People and objects that have high emission levels are more likely to be sources of pollution.

A sitting non-smoker emits one olf. However, a sedentary smoker emits twenty-five units, while athletes emit thirty units. Therefore, it is likely that smokers and athletes pollute more than non-smoking couch potatoes.

Marble, linoleum, synthetic fiber, and rubber gaskets emit 0.01/m², 0.2/m², 0.4/m², 0.6/m² respectively.

We measure the subsequent air quality in decipols or dp.

Put simply; olf is what we emit, and decipol is what we sense. Specifically, what our noses sense.

According to UrbanDictionary.com, the term may also mean old or bad-ass. For example “My grandpa keeps it relaxed and awesome, he’s such an olf.”

In the world of computers, OLF refers to a kind of file. The file contains saved legal documents from Oyez forms. OyezForms is a program for Microsoft Windows that allows the user to create electronic document forms.

An olf - image explanation with examples
One olf is what a sedentary, non-smoking human emits. One deciphol is the perceived air quality that we smell in a space with a sensory load of one olf.

Prof. Fanger, olf and decipol

Danish professor Povl Ole Fanger (1934-2006) introduced the terms olf and decipol. Prof. Fanger was an expert in thermal comfort and perfection of indoor environments.

He was a senior professor at the ICIEE at the Technical University of Denmark. ICIEE stands for the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy.

His work showed that poor air quality in our homes may cause asthma in children. He also showed that poor air quality in the workplace reduces productivity. Productivity refers to how much one unit of output produces over a given time. For example, output per worker per hour, day, week, etc.

According to BusinessDictionary.com, the term refers to:

“A unit of air pollution strength which measures the scent emission of an object. The more olfs an item emits, the more likely it is to be a source of air pollution.”