Conference will explore air quality

Written on: September 4, 2013 by ICM

Finding the balance between environmental health and energy efficiency in the pursuit of low-energy buildings is examined in a paper at the upcoming ASHRAE IAQ (indoor air quality) 2013 conference, setting the tone for discussion for the entire event.
“Neglecting indoor air quality while pursuing other goals can result in building environments that negatively impact the health, comfort and productivity of occupants and therefore defeat the overall goal of building design, including reduced costs,” said Kevin Teichman, a senior science advisor at the U.S. Environment Protection Agency.
“While building design is key to achieving a high-performing building, it is critically important to follow these good intentions through construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance. Only in this way will high-performing buildings actually perform as designed.”
Teichman’s paper is among 80 papers and extended abstracts being presented at IAQ 2013, Environmental Health in Low-Energy Buildings, which takes place Oct. 15-18 in Vancouver, B.C.
This conference is the 17th in the ASHRAE IAQ conference series and is co-organized by the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate.
His paper, “Indoor Air Quality in High-Performing Building Case Studies: A Wealth of Intent, A Dearth of Data,” examines the role of indoor air quality in high-performing buildings, focusing on case studies in ASHRAE’s High Performing Buildings magazine.
The paper was co-authored by Andrew Persily and conference co-chair Steve Emmerich, mechanical engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
A panel discussion on the topic is also planned.
“While progress has been made in achieving sustainable, high-performance buildings, it is noteworthy that many discussions of green, high-performing and certainly net-zero energy buildings tend to focus on energy consumption,” Teichman said.
“Energy is critically important, but is only one aspect of performance and should not be pursued to the neglect of the others.”
The conference seeks to describe the current state-of-understanding of the relationship of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in high-performance buildings.
“There is not a lot of data on IEQ in high-performance buildings, but this conference will bring the collective knowledge of the industry together to set a benchmark, if you will, on where we are and how we should move forward,” said Hal Levin, conference co-chair.
“It will be important in identifying critical gaps in our knowledge and potential priorities for future ASHRAE research, standards and guidelines.”
The state of knowledge will be summarized in written “topic overviews” to be included in the conference proceedings publication.
These overviews may include comments on papers in the sessions; provide supplemental information; summarize the state of the art; include suggestions for high-priority research, as well as identify areas that are well researched; or include recommendations to ASHRAE about implementation of energy conservation and IEQ design activities, Levin said.
The conference features papers and presentations in nine tracks, which include:

  • Environmental Health in Low-Energy Buildings
  • Moisture and Health
  • Sources and Chemistry
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Factor Interactions
  • Residential Buildings
  • Commercial and Institutional Buildings
  • Air Cleaning and Filtration
  • Microorganisms and Infection
  • Tools (models, measurements and more)

ASHRAE was formed as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide.
It focuses on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability.