Don Weekes, IAQA Past President & Stephanie Sears, IAQA Exec Director – IEQ In Developing Nations

Air Date: 9-16-2016| Episode: 431

This week we welcome Don Weekes, CIH, CSP and Stephanie Sears, MBA, PMP, CMP to IAQ Radio. Most listeners know Don as a regular guest and Past President of IAQA. Stephanie joined early this year along with ASHRAE President David Underwood and IAQA Past President Kent Rawhauser to review the ASHRAE/IAQA Conference in Orlando, Florida…

This week we welcome Don Weekes, CIH, CSP and Stephanie Sears, MBA, PMP, CMP to IAQ Radio. Most listeners know Don as a regular guest and Past President of IAQA. Stephanie joined early this year along with ASHRAE President David Underwood and IAQA Past President Kent Rawhauser to review the ASHRAE/IAQA Conference in Orlando, Florida. This week we look forward to discussing how IEQ issues in the US and the rest of the world are the same and how they differ. We also want to learn from Stephanie about the IAQA Strategic Plan for moving forward now that the merger is complete. Don has been traveling around the world for conferences and presentations for years now, Stephanie had extensive international experience in her previous positions. They are both recently returning from India where a new IAQA Chapter was set up. We look forward to this opportunity to LEARN MORE about IEQ Around the World and the IAQA Strategic Direction this week on IAQ Radio.

Donald Weekes, CIH is InAIR Environmental’s Certified Industrial Hygienist and has been providing environmental and occupational health and safety assistance for more than 35 years. He is affiliated with the American Industrial of Hygiene Association (AIHA) as past Chair of the Indoor Environmental Quality Committee and as a Fellow of the Association. He is a four-time recipient of the AIHA’s Best Seller award for the ‘Report of the Microbial Task Force’ in 2001 and 2002, the ‘Assessment, Remediation and Post-Remediation Verification of Mold in Buildings’ publication in 2004, and the Green Book, aka ‘Recognition, Evaluation and Control of Indoor Mold, book in 2008.

Stephanie Sears is currently the serving as the executive director for the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA). As the Association’s Executive Director, Sears serves as the primary liaison to IAQA’s Board of Directors, coordinating projects between IAQA’s 2,500 volunteers and eight staff. Prior to IAQA, Sears was at Equifax, where she served as the Director of Global Operations Business Planning and Analysis since 2013. Prior to Equifax, she spent 10 years at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Z-Man’s Blog:

IEQ Around the World

On today’s episode of IAQradio, RadioJoe and the Z-Man caught up with Don Weekes and Stephanie Sears to discuss their recent trip to India on behalf of the IAQA. Don is a CIH and CSP with over 40years of experience. Stephanie is an experienced association executive who serves as IAQA’s executive director.

Nuggets from today’s episode:

Have you traveled internationally for work previously?
Stephanie Sears traveled regularly both through North America and internationally in her former role with ASME’s International Gas Turbine Institute and also helped their expansion into Asia and India. Don Weekes who is residing inCanada, has traveled internationally attending conferences an events in UK, China, Hong Kong, Portugal, Australia and Finland.
Whose rules?

Don: In the US, IAQ Quality Guidelines are created by the government: EPA, OSHA, HUD, CDC or by professional organizations like ASHRAE. In Canada, the guidelines are issued by the provinces. Due to a Legionella outbreak Quebec has a very strict sampling requirement that is more stringent than other provinces. It can be hard to know the jurisdiction in any given situation. International Chapters don’t just happen:
Stephanie and Don:

A contingent from India approached IAQA at the Orlando meeting to become involved with the organization and to leverage the available educational opportunities. There is plenty of opportunity for IAQA in Indiadue to the IAQ issues caused by the country’s polluted outdoor air and extreme humidity in the tropical climate zones. In addition to instituting IAQA’s new chapter in India, Don and Stephanie spent time in Delhi discussing with government officials how IAQA can become more involved. [Mr. Richie Mittal, Chapter Director, New Delhi, Delhi]

Don: New Delhi the capital of India has a population of 20 million. Variation of climates occur in India from mountainous zone in central region to tropical on southern coast. The tropical climate zones have extreme humidity.

Don: Some of us are old enough to remember the visible smog of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s in the US. Beginning with a focus on outdoor air, the US been working on improving air quality since the early 1980s. India is approaching the problem similarly, by first targeting outdoor particulates. While India has seen a reduction in particulate emission there is little control. PM10 was of prior concern, now it’s PM2.5, with discussion of going to PM1.
India is concerned about energy costs. Don: We visited a Platinum LEED Dynamic certified building in New, Delhi. LEED Dynamic buildings meet LEED certification standards and then maintain them by tracking: RH, CO, formaldehyde, total VOCs, particulate, etc. and displaying measurements on a large monitor in the building lobby. For more info on the LEED Dynamic plaque, please visit:

Don and Stephanie: Cooking is an integral component of Indian culture. Indoor cook stoves using biomass as fuel are a major cause of airborne particulate in India. The stoves emit CO, particulate and are a trigger for asthma, particularly for children. Another major source of pollution and particulate emission is the astronomical number of vehicles of all shapes, types and sizes.

What types of building methods are being used for new commercial construction?

Don: Due to foreign investment new construction is done according to western methods using western materials. New commercial buildings are using mechanical ventilation. The new hotels utilize drywall, carpet and ceiling tile while the old traditional buildings use marble and concrete. Don and Stephanie were pleasantly surprised not to detect musty odors in the buildings they visited.

Stephanie: The duo visited Goa, a resort town in a tropical climate with an extreme humidity where it is difficult to maintain a RH acceptable to westerners.

Is there mold awareness in India?

Don: While mold is an issue the primary focus in India is on particulate. Air purifiers are the primary tool. In commercial settings air purifiers using filtration are widely used. The air purifiers used residentially use UV and ozone. The IAQA India chapter plans to create guidelines on selection of air purifiers as there is a great need for public education on the topic. Currently, buyers are only using price as an indicator of the quality and effectiveness of air purifiers.

Don traveled to Hong Kong in 2014 which he describes as a densely populated incredibly vertical modern city. In Hong Kong commercial buildings are mechanically ventilated, many air handlers and cooling towers visible on roofs. In Hong Kong he noticed areas where energy was wasted such as cooling outdoor walkways, comparatively India is much more energy conscious.

Don: Europe took the energy crisis of the 1970s very seriously, and instituted changes such as an emphasis on public transportation rather than individual vehicles. Since the 1990’s, many European air quality researchers have cometo the US to start IAQ research programs. The EU placed a premium on efficient public transportation. The cost of vehicle fuel throughout Europe was raised. In the EU if you drive you’ll pay a price for it. EU regulations on transportation are more stringent than in the US.

Don: IAQ researchers in the US have caught up to the Europeans. ISIAQ sees real growth in IAQ research in Beijing, Shanghai and India. New technology is adopted earlier in Asia. Very few people in China don’t use a smart phone, even in the rural areas. In China, people who previously had no phone didn’t wait for a landline; they went directly to smart phones.
Stephanie: In India, there is segmentation and differences in IAQ between urban and rural areas. There are also cultural practices that contribute to poor air quality, including indoor cook stoves and fireworks used to celebrate holidays.

Stephanie: We have a great team who are working hard. A strategic plan has been developed to grow the organization. Main tactics of the strategic plan include: improving the value of membership both tangibly and intangibly and building awareness through communication. The three strategic focus areas for the association are Education, Government/Industry Affairs, and Member Engagement. Education: monthly webinars, quarterly free webinar for members, IAQA University with fifty one-hour online courses,and our training partners.

The 2017 IAQA Annual Meeting at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas fromJan. 30-Feb. 1, 2017. Join us for an expanded technical program, the IAQA Pavilion at AHR Expo, and countless networking opportunities.

The organization is growing and is ready to serve.We’re always looking for motivated volunteers. For a list of opportunities, visit the Get Involved page at
Stephanie’s final comment: I’m surrounded by passionate people. The IAQA Board, members and volunteers are driven to advance the association and the IAQ industry. Passion is contagious!

Don’s final comment: The IAQA is working hard on growing the chapters we have, opening new ones and growing internationally. Come and join us!

Today’s music: “Trip to India” by Dr. Peacock YouTube
Z-Man signing off

Trivia: Who was the first president of the IAQA?
Answer: Larry Robertson