Brief summaries of presentations at IAQ & Energy 2023
Opening Plenary Session:
ASHRAE Standard 241-2023 – Control of Infectious Aerosols is ASHRAE’s newest standard. It establishes minimum requirements for systems in new, existing, and renovated buildings to significantly reduce the likelihood of airborne disease transmission indoors when risk of infection is deemed to be high. It was developed in response to encouragement from the White House to create a national pathogen mitigation standard. Standard 241 is innovative in number of areas, including the use of equivalent clean airflow as the target performance metric, the introduction of resilience concepts into IAQ standards, and the establishment of air cleaner performance and safety tests. This presentation will give attendees a thorough introduction to Standard 241, including explanation of key concepts including equivalent clean air, infection risk management mode, and building readiness plans and how Standard 241 relates to existing IAQ standards such as ASHRAE 62.1 and building codes. Supporting tools and guidance such as the equivalent clean air calculator and procedures for determining clean air delivery rates for particle removal systems by field testing will be described. Attendees will be better prepared to read the new standard with comprehension and to apply it effectively.
William P. Bahnfleth
PhD, PE, FASHRAE, FASME, FISIAQ
Professor of Architectural Engineering
Pennsylvania State University,
State College, PA
Ten years ago the approach to energy efficiency focused on mechanical controls to minimize the use of fossil fuel consumption. Digital thermostats that could be programmed to start and stop at optimal moments. Elaborate controls able to over ride or coordinate multiple devices, again, to provide optimization. Although these devices are important in the right setting, today's session will show how the emergence of the building envelop as a science, can influence a buildings performance outcome. This presentation will take you through one person's journey, working for one company, for one decade on the affects of building science techniques that have reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions through practical means. The presentation will be supported with data to show these outcomes.
Director of Construction Services, CPHC, Avesta Housing, Portland, ME
"Health, Wellness & High-Performance Solutions"
Market studies show consumer interest in healthier homes and communities has been increasing for several years. No matter the price point, new build or retrofit, today’s consumers are prioritizing health and wellness so they can stay in their homes longer and improve its impact on their well-being. In this session we'll explore the design and construction principles of a healthy home, and how to apply building science and wellness solutions to entice homeowners and meet their needs. Through real data, real examples and real lessons learned, you’ll discover industry-leading strategies for taking the health and performance of your homes to the next level—and do so profitably.
Sustainability Director, Steven Winter Associates, Inc., Somerville, MA
"The Future of Residential Ventilation: A Harm-Based Procedure"
Traditionally ventilation control has relied on occupant perception – if it stinks, open a window or turn
on a fan. Sensors, associated controls, and health impact knowledge have developed rapidly and will
continue to develop in the coming years offering opportunities for precise control of indoor air quality.
Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) is a measurement of reduced healthy life developed by the World
Health Organization (WHO). It is a measurement of the “gap between current health status and an ideal
health situation where the entire population lives to an advanced age, free of disease and disability.”
Many elements impact a healthy life, one of which is indoor air quality (IAQ). IAQ is impacted by
ventilation. This session will apply the work done by the WHO on DALY analysis to a new ventilation rate
procedure based on contaminant control being developed by ASHRAE as a part of the 62.2 Standard. We
will also consider elements of mechanical system reliability and the where the hammer of responsibility
falls when some breaks.
Residential Energy Dynamics, Bethel, ME
Paul H. Raymer
Heyoka Solutions, Falmouth, MA
"All About Air Sealing: Residential Retrofits and Remodeling for Efficient & Healthy Homes"
Air sealing is often overlooked and undervalued compared to insulation, but in many cases it is just as effective in making a house more efficient, healthy, and comfortable. Many homeowners don’t even know what air sealing is, but that has to change – we all need to be air sealing ambassadors.
In this presentation, let’s go beyond the usual air sealing candidates of attic bypasses and dig into comprehensive air sealing, and find the targets that also have a great impact: blower-door-led air sealing, zone pressure diagnostics, effective interior window inserts, etc. We’ll also talk about the consequences of air sealing, why it’s important to know the impacts of making a house tighter in different zones. Finally, we’ll discuss air sealing a house to its limits: finding the threshold where mechanical ventilation is needed to keep a healthy and comfortable home.
Home Energy Auditor & BPI Analyst, All-Around Home Performance,
"Improving Classroom Air Quality and Decarbonizing Classroom Comfort Conditioning"
Many classroom environments are unhealthy and uncomfortable, creating poor learning environments with high absenteeism. ASHRAE's recently developed 241P standard ("Control of Infectious Aerosols") requires 50cfm per person ventilation in classroom environments, or more than double today's ASHRAE 62.1 minimum ventilation requirements. The new ventilation standard significantly reduces transmission of airborne disease and improves student classroom performance. The presentation will cover expected benefits of improved classroom IAQ.
Older, unventilated classrooms can be economically decarbonized while improving air quality and comfort. Before and after IAQ and comfort data from conversion of classrooms in an Illinois junior high school and a Montessori school in Maine are presented. Health, energy and cost information for the projects are presented.
Emeritus Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois & Vice President Build Equinox, Urbana, IL
Session: 3 Keynote
"Who holds the keys to Good IAQ and a Healthier Home? What doors are open or locked? Who are the Key Makers?"
This session will cover the key elements to best IAQ practices and a healthier home. Who holds the keys, is it the designer, builder, sub-contractors, HVAC contractors, Rater/Advisors, Code officials, product manufacturers, and/or the occupants. No surprise here, it's a combination. Let's pick the locks and discuss the various roles each key holder has in creating common failures (unhealthy conditions) and current successes that open the doors to a healthier home.
If a healthier home is as simple as turning a key, why are so few occupants asking for their home to be healthier? Maybe semantics with comfort or … we’ll discuss consumer indifferences. Why are so few doors, opportunities, open and others require special keys to enter.
The door is open, join us.
Owner and Executive Director of HHEA, Healthy Home Environment Association, Harding, CO
"Investigation of Spray Foam Insulation Odors and Air Quality Problem Sources Using Air Testing Combined with Bulk Foam Off-Gas Sampling"
Spray foam insulation (SPF) installations frequently result in odor and/or IAQ complaints by the occupants of the home or building where the installation has occurred. When the installation is performed properly with the correct mixing and ratio of Side A (isocyanate) and Side B (polyol), any vapors associated with the installation will rarely off gas for more than a few days.
However, when misapplication occurs, the off gassing may persist for an indefinite period of time and the foam may perform as insulation but the odor and/or air quality health issues will not be acceptable to the owner. In these cases, air testing using thermal desorption tubes or canisters is frequently the only testing performed to determine the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in the home or business, usually using industry-standard test protocols (TO-15, etc.).
In this presentation, a different approach will be described for determining the source of the suspected SPF VOCs. Air testing is performed in the areas where a spray foam installation has occurred, but in addition, off-gas tests of bulk foam and substrate materials, such as wood, have also been tested. Comparison of the VOC results from both air and bulk foam/substrate materials can then determine if the SPF is the source of the volatile compounds, and if their concentrations in the air exceed the permissible exposure levels.
Consultant, HC Fennell Consulting, LLC, North Thetford, VT
"Introduction to Low-Cost Remediation of Misapplied Foam"
It is generally accepted that the only guaranteed remediation for misapplied foam is its complete removal. This method is almost always catastrophically disruptive and expensive. A new method, with a high success rate, but with an “orders of magnitude” lower cost, uses an isolation and depressurization approach similar to radon mitigation. Seven case studies of successful remediation projects will illustrate this “instertial space depressurization system.”
Consultant, HC Fennell Consulting, LLC, North Thetford, VT
"Ventilation: And I Care Why?"
The dangers of indoor air pollution continue to make headlines. Yet, does the average builder or homeowner really care if the house is well ventilated? Covid 19, mold, phthalates,VOC's, radon etc.., Are the dangers real and is there enough evidence that should move the average person to action before illness arrives? I think there is and this presentation will try to persuade you to action. But what action and how much will it cost if I do, or if I don't take action. Come and see.
Kurt T. Johnson Sr. HRAI Certified Venti
Owner of Fresh Air Ventilation Systems, LLC
For the last twenty-five years, I have investigated thousands of homes, schools, and offices spaces; and have examined by microscopy over 40,000 air and dust samples. Despite the many years I have spent as an IAQ investigator, I have been surprised by some of the indoor sources of allergens in of my investigations. I will discuss some of my more interesting IAQ cases, which include exposures from couches, carpets, bedding, and even clothing. I will describe several novel ways to gather samples, including the use of Air-o-Cell cassettes with a Scotch tape medium. My presentation will include case studies, photographs of conditions I have observed, and micrographs from samples that I examined. My focus is pragmatic rather than theoretical, and I invite anyone interested in IAQ to attend. I hope to teach people new ways of thinking about and approaching IAQ problems.
IAQ investigator, CIAQP CMC
May Indoor Air Investigations, Tyngsborough, MA
Rachel Roy will review air filtration options and fresh air options available with VRF. She will focus on school IAQ requirements. She will also discuss refrigerant concentration limits in spaces and new technology available to help reduce refrigerant in occupied spaces.
Professional Engineer, Mitsubishi Electric, Westbrook, ME
Let's have an honest discussion on IAQ and healthier homes. What are we doing to the air our clients are breathing and can we measure it?
This session will provide new clarity on IAQ consumer grade devices - "seeing the invisible or nothing at all." What do that really measure, where should they be located and how many per occupant or size of the home? Can these “trend indicators” provide actionable benefits to the occupants and the builder? Soon these devices will be evaluated/rated from HVI like exhaust fans.
This session is intended to be a “What Every Consumer/Builder Should Know About IAQ devices and Healthier Air”. Let's eliminate the hype and myths about Indoor Air Quality and what can make a home Healthier and discuss the known "facts" based on valid third-party evidence or that which is assumed to be valid resources.
We'll review, on a high level, the installations that are being installed in air handlers - either eliminating (filtering) contaminants or adding (altering) the air. This includes UV, bipolar ionization, Hydroxyl, Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) and filters that are properly sized and measured static pressure.
You should have a basic understanding of what is installed, the occupants are breathing, and what can be monitored.
Owner and Executive Director of HHEA, Healthy Home Environment Association, Harding, CO
"Measure AND Manage IAQ/IEQ In Your Building"
With the focus squarely on defining the problem(s) related to IAQ/IEQ in buildings, the actual solutions have been hard to define, implement and verify. With emerging technology that allows for both monitoring of IAQ and managing IAQ when things go sideways, there are many benefits to be realized. First, gain insight with better data which will allow for trends to be identified, issues to be exposed, and solutions to be developed. Second, provide solution(s) that will allow for remediation and/or solutions to be cost effective utilizing energy efficiency, advanced controls and a continuous feedback loop.
This session will explore technology and solutions that have been implemented in a range of applications, from schools to offices to restaurants and beyond. Attendees will gain valuable insight in to how solutions were implemented with a focus on results that provide an actual ROI for building owners and tenants while achieving popular goals such as electrification/decarbonization, significant energy reductions, improved IAQ and health, and improved comfort.
Building owners, managers and tenants will understand significant opportunities that exist to upgrade their buildings and spaces while improving their bottom lines and meeting their ESG goals. Engineers and contractors will understand a model that can be implemented to achieve all of these goals and provide their clients with outstanding results.
Sales Manager, Ventacity Systems, Scarborough, ME
Good air quality is critical for maintaining a healthy learning environment in schools. Poor air quality can lead to health problems, decreased productivity, and lower academic performance. In this presentation, we will be discussing Haley Ward’s indoor air quality improvements completed on Brewer High School.
Haley Ward teamed with JET Architecture to work to improve the indoor air quality of all the classroom wings in the grade 9-12 school. To eliminate any impact on student learning, the project needed to be split into two phases to be completed over two consecutive summer breaks.
The Haley Ward team assessed the air quality issues, strategized, and designed several systems to not only improve air quality and general health, but to increase energy efficiency of the building and decrease long terms costs for the school department. Changes included improvements on some existing heating systems, installing high efficiency air conditioning systems using variable refrigerant flows, heat pumps to provide both heating and cooling to classrooms, and a dedicated outside air system (DOAS) with heat recovery.
The project was completed within the time frame and budgetary constraints provided, and the changes made will not only affect student health and well-being, but the increased energy efficiency will provide an ongoing benefit to the school department for years to come.
Senior Project Engineer