ATLANTA - New guidance for achieving enhanced IAQ is available from five building industry associations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “The Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction and Commissioning” is a collaboration between American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA International), the EPA, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

According to ASHRAE, the book and CD provide strategies needed to achieve good IAQ using proven technologies and without significantly increasing costs.

“The health and comfort of building occupants is too important to leave IAQ as an after-thought in design, construction, and operation,” said Andrew Persily, Ph.D., chair of the committee that wrote the new guidance. “There is plenty of experience out there to help avoid IAQ problems in buildings, allowing all of us to breathe a little easier.”

The book describes 40 strategies for achieving critical IAQ objectives related to moisture management, ventilation, filtration, and air cleaning and source control. It also highlights how design and construction teams can work together to ensure good IAQ strategies are incorporated from initial design through project completion. The following are a few tips from the guide on improving IAQ in buildings:

• Bring IAQ into the very earliest design discussions. Don’t get stuck retrofitting the design for IAQ at the end of the process.

• Strictly limit liquid water penetration and condensation in the envelope, and control indoor humidity.

• Where outdoor air quality is poor, use enhanced filtration and air cleaning to provide high-quality ventilation air. Locate outdoor air intakes away from contaminant sources and provide the means to measure and control minimum outdoor airflows.

• Select building materials and furnishings that have low contaminant emissions and don’t require use of high-emitting cleaning products.

• Exhaust contaminants from indoor activities as close to their source as possible.

• Recognize that operations and maintenance is essential to long term IAQ, and provide the access, training, and documentation needed to facilitate this.

• Commission from design through occupancy to ensure that IAQ objectives are met.

A summary document of the Indoor Air Quality Guide – ideal for a general understanding of the importance of major IAQ issues can be downloaded for free. The full publication is available in hard copy or electronically.

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Publication date:02/01/2010