This week we are thrilled to welcome William “Bill” Turner, CEO of Turner Building Science and Design, LLC. He has published and lectured extensively. Bill has 35 years of experience in the implementation of moisture, indoor air quality/HVAC evaluation, energy, and engineering HVAC/building science diagnostic program evaluations in school, commercial, health care, laboratory, residential, and industrial settings.
Special thanks for Christy Crocker at the Maine IAQ Council for helping getting Bill on this show. You can also see him live at the MIAQC sponsored 2016 Northeast Indoor Air Quality & Energy Conference.
Most people can clean up a mold mess without making it worse, far fewer can determine the cause of the moisture.
Bill Turner, MS, PE is CEO of Turner Building Science and Design, of Harrison, Maine was our guest on today’s episode of IAQradio. Bill has over 35 years of experience in the implementation of moisture indoor air quality/HVAC evaluation, energy, and engineering HVAC/building science diagnostic program evaluations in school, commercial, health care, laboratory, residential and industrial settings. He and his firm are acknowledged industry leaders. He has contributed to and advised on EPA/NIOSH and other documents.
Nuggets mined from today’s episode:
Most satisfying trend- mechanical ventilation and the importance of maintaining it.
Making homes tight is understandable, the how and where to make the holes needed for ventilation is where contractors struggle.
Codes specify the minimum behavior.
Most disappointing trends- the installation of unvented heaters (attributes to strong lobby) and trashing of the Energy Star and Indoor Air Plus programs.
Praised for DOE Net Zero homes. Net Zero is becoming more mainstream.
Was a principle author of the USEPA “Building Air Quality Guide”. The document was conceived when Bill, Terry Brennan, Ed Light, Joe Lstiburek were asked if to reach consensus on what to tell building owners. NIOSH later adopted the document.
It’s unfortunate that the focus is on mold not on the moisture driving it. Most people can clean up a mold mess without making it worse, far fewer can determine the cause of the moisture.
It’s unfortunate that many kitchens don’t have exhaust hoods. Very few microwaves are vented to the outside.
Bill has worked with Linda Wigington and ROCIS to increase awareness of particulate indoors using low cost devices. Seeing is believing. Low cost particle counters, infrared cameras, CO2 and CO monitors are available and impactful and help homeowners and contractors understand. http://rocis.org/meet-team (Air Date: 11-11-2016 – Episode: 437)
Some ROCIS IAQ Recommendations: for retrofits install a 4” MERV 11 filter, for new construction allow space to install a 4” MERV 11 filter, use HEPA vacuums, use portable air cleaners, CO and CO2 alarms.
Where to learn about building science? Building Science Corp., their website, and the information developed for Build America are excellent info resources.
While its satisfying determining the cause(s) of IAQ/energy problems; its challenging telling folks how much it will cost to resolve them.
Walking into a home with a wood burner or fireplace and smelling smoke is an indication that something is amiss.
Bill remembers being advised not to make his house too tight. He has since added dense pack wall insulation. Bill experiments with his own home before he experiments with his client’s. 20 years ago he installed a solar hot air intake system in his home. Steve Caulfield (who works at the firm) added an air-to-air heat exchanger to his. (Air Date: 2-3-2012 – Episode: 234) http://www.iaqradio.com/steven-m-caulfied-pe-cih-building-science-ieq/
Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation. There is nothing better on rock wall basement walls. According to local code it must be installed behind an ignition barrier. It is a product that when blended properly on site, applied by a skilled and experienced crew under proper supervision will stick to the surfaces to which it is applied and will dry odor free hard enough to withstand hammer blows. When done wrong, it won’t adhere, it will be brittle or sticky and will smell resulting in an unhappy client. Recommends that before hiring a contractor conduct due diligence: ask for references, verify training, certification and experience. His firm conducts commercial SPF audits under the guidelines of the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA). For residential applications he recommends following manufacturers’ guidelines.
Compared to the late 1970s and 1980s when many mistakes were made tightening buildings we are now doing well. Weatherization crews follow safety guidelines to ensure combustion appliances operate safely. Kitchen exhaust remains a problem. He wrote a paper that examined activity of mountaineers on Mt. McKinley and found that CO2 emission increase when heater flames were quenched.
In November 2011, the EPA released a wonderful piece of work assessment techniques and corrective actions. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/protocols-home-energy-upgrades
EPA also has IAQ Planner for schools https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/indoor-air-quality-tools-schools-action-kit
He is suspicious of the unintended consequences of new chemistries with: drywall and ceiling tile that smells when moist, printer toner and light reacting to create fine styrene particles, etc. We are oblivious to photo copies, they are an industrial process in a box.
Vanishing Treasures. While hiking in the Tetons, Bill came upon a log cabin with a stack of rigid foam insulation outside. He spoke to a workman and was granted access to the property and permitted to take photos. As he expected the crawl space had fiberglass insulation and was wet. Subsequently he expressed his concerns. He was asked by the Park Service to teach a course. Now there is an annual course in August on preserving historic structures, moisture dynamics, moisture management and includes hands on testing.
Trends in construction– in addition to insulation requirements of the prior code the 2012-2015 Climate Zone 6 && Code requires a continuous layer of insulation. This results in very energy efficient homes which need smaller heating and cooling systems. The added cost for the super insulation is only 3%-5%.
There are 3 concepts of in water intrusion solution:
1) site water management
2) ground water management and
3) roof water management. In old buildings where there isn’t a vapor barrier beneath the floor installing a dehumidifier is an option.
He presented at IAQA convention on: Advanced Diagnostics of Buildings with Disease. His firm was hired to investigate what was going on in 2 government buildings.
- Building 1 findings- Unsuccessful management of water, water behind brick veneer, mold growing within the HVAC system, 6 massive photo copiers printing checks (Huge unrecognized source of VOCs).
- Building 2 findings- Sarcoidosis is a rare inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in the body, but mostly the lungsand lymph glands. NIOSH discovered an association between the complaints in the building and the growth of biofilm in the plastic condensate drain lines from HVAC equipment. An improperly functioning boiler stack which periodically blow fumes into the building was another fault.
- “Bacteria in a water-damaged building: associations of actinomycetes and non-tuberculous mycobacteria with respiratory health in occupants”
- “Sarcoidosis, asthma, and asthma-like symptoms among occupants of a historically water-damaged office building”
The firm resolved underground contamination resulting in vapor intrusion of dry-cleaning solvent into homes using radon reduction systems to capture and discharge VOCs outside.
Tips to audience: educate yourself as much as possible on all related topics, always keep an open mind. Or you’ll get big surprises, Were in an interdisciplinary field it takes a team. The mechanical engineering is either part of the problem or part of the solution.
Z-Man signing off
Name the US Park Service Program that supports the preservation of traditionally-built architecture in the Western United States, facilitates the perpetuation of traditional skills, and promotes connections between culturally associated communities and places of their heritage.
The Vanishing Treasures Program