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  • 1.  IAQ for Builders

    BPA Staff Member
    Posted 8 days ago
    by John Bohlmann

    Better indoor air quality means greater customer satisfaction.

    We breathe in approximately 2,000 gallons of air a day, and spend, on average, 90 percent of our time indoors. Given those two striking statistics, the quality of the air we breathe should be front and center when it comes to our health. A myriad of innovative solutions exists for improving indoor air quality (IAQ), however, and the federal government is squarely behind these new changes.

    The impact of indoor air quality on our health went largely unnoticed until the pandemic brought it to light. There is now heightened awareness of the role that air quality plays indoors-a genie that is not likely to go back in the bottle. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolling out a new initiative, customers and staff will expect more from businesses when it comes to indoor air quality, meaning HVAC upgrades are on the horizon.

    A New-Found Emphasis on Indoor Air Quality

    In March, the EPA launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which "calls on all building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations of all kinds to adopt key strategies to improve indoor air quality in their buildings." This roadmap has set the stage for a new approach and awareness of IAQ, beyond just tackling COVID-19.

    The initiative promises to offer new and stricter guidance through a toolkit released by the EPA. This toolkit provides a detailed overview of steps and standards which should be adopted to ensure the optimal IAQ in public buildings. The higher standards and stricter measures mean many businesses will have to enhance their air quality management practices if they want to meet the new recommendations and satisfy the public's demand for clean air.

    Continue reading on the BPA Journal

    Macie Melendez
    Editor in Chief, Building Performance Journal
    Building Performance Association
    Moon Township PA

  • 2.  RE: IAQ for Builders

    Posted 7 days ago
      |   view attached
    Spot on John!  I don't do much on the commercial side, but the diagnostic process would be pretty much the same.  I have been dealing with high performance homes in my service area that cannot get the humidity under control.  As we all know, with elevated humidity comes a multitude of health concerns.  This past summer I spent approximately 70% of my auditing time diagnosing high humidity problems in newly constructed, super tight, well insulated, low window to wall ratios in what I like to classify as "high performance homes."   To help with my auditing and diagnostics I purchased an AirAdvice IAQ monitor and get a 30-minute IAQ flash report on every home.  The results are eye opening to the homeowners.  No matter how clean the home, we find IAQ issues in almost every home.  The flash report shows the following levels - Particulate (2.5micron), TVOC's, Carbon Dioxide (the most ignored issue - IMHO), Carbon Monoxide, Temp and Humidity.  The report also provides recommendations on how to deal with any elevated findings.  This is great tool to get a quick snapshot of the IAQ of the home and will also double as a data logger and take readings up to 2 weeks.  I will be coordinating this with a Certified Microbial Consultant to diagnose homes that will be referred by 3 local hospitals for pulmonary and respiratory patients.  This same diagnostic process can be utilized in businesses and commercial units.  Attached is a sample report that is generated with every audit.  

    It will take some doing to convince builders to sip the Kool-Aid, but when they do, they will realize less complaints from homeowners.  I constantly find with these high-performance homes if the AC is oversized, even by a small amount, the thermostat will satisfy too soon and shut the AC down before the home can be dehumidified properly.  When our software calculates we can cool a 3000 SF home with 1.5 - 2 Tons of cooling and that home has 4 - 5 tons, it's no wonder the humidity cannot be controlled.  Fixes can be complicated and cumbersome as downsizing equipment most likely would require resizing the duct work smaller, drastically increasing the cost of the fix.  Try having that conversation with a homeowner that just purchased their retirement or 2nd home for Boo-ku bucks at the beach.  Not fun times.  There are some processes I have tried that work and equipment does not have to be replaced, but it's not a one size fits all fix.  Still a way to go to get the building AND HVAC industry to buy in, but we'll keep plugging away!  

    Allen Luzak
    Home Performance Consulting L
    Lewes DE



    Flash IAQ Report.pdf   90 KB 1 version