Radio Joe & Don Weekes, CIH, CSP – What did we learn at the IAQA 20th Annual Meeting & ASHRAE AHR

Air Date: 2-3-2017|Episode 446

This week on IAQ Radio we get a rundown of the highlights from the IAQA 20th Annual Meeting with Radio Joe and IAQA Past-President Don Weekes, CIH, CSP. Earlier this week the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) held their 20th Annual Meeting in conjunction with the ASHRAE AHR Expo in Las Vegas, NV…

Full Description:

This week on IAQ Radio we get a rundown of the highlights from the IAQA 20th Annual Meeting with Radio Joe and IAQA Past-President Don Weekes, CIH, CSP. Earlier this week the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) held their 20th Annual Meeting in conjunction with the ASHRAE AHR Expo in Las Vegas, NV. Radio Joe spoke, attended sessions and interviewed members and speakers. He and IAQA Past-President Don Weekes will discuss what’s new and what they learned at this year’s event.

Z-Man’s Blog:

What did we learn at the IAQA 20th Annual Meeting & ASHRAE AHR?

Don Weekes, CIH, CSP InAir Environmental, Ottawa, Canada and Radio Joe discussed what they had learned at the IAQA 20th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas Nevada.

According to Don the IAQA 20th Annual Meeting included some good quality presentations and social events. It was also well attended and he received numerous positive comments from attendees.

Radio Joe commented that it was a big plus having both IAQA and ASHRAE meetings in the same hotel this year.

Don addes that this year there was a noticeably better coordination and integration of meetings.

ASHRAE had 699 options between presentations and committee meetings. ASHRAE President Tim Wentz had the opportunity to attend IAQA opening session.

IAQA President John Lapotaire and his wife Lydia personally welcomed attendees at the door of the reception on the first evening. All attendees were invited to the opening reception. Inviting everyone and welcoming them at the door were nice touches and a departure from the past.

AHR event spanned 500,000 square feet, 6,000 booths and 60,000 attendees. IAQA Vendor Pavilion within had 16 exhibitors. Radio Joe spoke to a few IAQA Exhibitors and they were pleased with attendance and location at this year’s booth space. IAQA vendors also had an opportunity to have a small booth at the welcome party held the first evening.

Presentations Overviews:

Don- Mold Growth Indoors” Update on the Responses, Effects, Management and Assessment Comments by 4 presenters who were intimately involved with the development process of what started out to be an AAAAI Practice Parameter. Carl Grimes, J. David Miller, PhD, Kevin Kennedy, MPH Elliot Horner, PhD. Lots of discussion about one of the documents designed to assist physicians in working with IEPs to help their patients. It tells doctors what to look for so they can better examine and test patients. There was an entire issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) devoted to mold. Dr. Miller discussed some of this presentation Episode 429 of IAQ Radio. Unfortunately the articles discussed during this presentation are not available free you have to purchase from JACI or contact one of the authors to get a copy. We will be continuing to follow this issue on IAQ Radio!

Steven Caulfield of Turner Building Science did a plenary session on Building Science Pressure Diagnostics. His presentation discussed using blower doors, thermal imaging, smoke, and tracer gas along with other methods to assess pressure relationships in buildings. He emphasized the importance of understanding building science to do proper IEQ investigations and to focus on pollutants, pathways, pressure relationships in buildings. We all must keep in mind these relationships can change spatially and temporally, a building can be negative pressure on first floor and positive pressure on another floor. These pressure relationships can also change based on time of the day, operation of mechanical systems and time of season.

Is CO2 a Pollutant or Merely Index of Indoor Air Quality? by Pawel Wargocki, Technical University of Denmark.

Recent studies out of Harvard indicated that CO2 could be considered a pollutant that affects performance and not merely a proxy for determining if ventilation is adequate. This was surprising information that had not been seen in previous studies. Dr. Wargocki’s group tried to duplicate the studies done at Harvard but got different results. They could not use the exact same protocols as Harvard for financial and other reasons but used similar measurements for performance, etc. Their results were similar to other published works prior to the Harvard study. In their studies elevated levels of CO2 similar to those commonly found in indoor environments did not have much effect on performance or health. When CO2 and bio-effluents were both increased there was some change in performance related affects. Overall their studies did not support the findings of the Harvard studies. This is a topic that we will be covering in more detail on future shows and Dr. Wargocki has agreed to join us at a later date.

-IAQ Investigation Methods was the topic of a workshop by a recent IAQ Radio guest (Episode 443) Cliff Cooper, MS, CIH. In spite of some technical issues Mr. Cooper gave an interesting workshop this topic. One key point was a discussion on using the term “complaint” during IAQ investigations. Mr. Cooper recommended that IAQ investigators keep in mind the phrase “Tabula rasa” which is a Latin phrase often translated as “blank slate” in English and originates from the Roman tabula used for notes, which was blanked by heating the wax and then smoothing it.” Mr. Cooper recommends that we use other terminology such as “expressing dissatisfaction” or “discomfort” when describing the concerns of people in buildings we are investigating. Who wants to be labeled a complainer?

He also discussed properly identifying risk vs. hazard and putting together risk management proposals. Don added that we should not jump to conclusions that a hazard is present without knowing all the facts. Don’t sample first. Investigate and inspect first, then sample if needed. Observe, communicate, mitigate. Allow dissatisfied parties to play a role in solving the problem.

Don Weekes talked about a presentation by Claire Ramspeck –How to get involved in ASHRAE Standards Development. ASHRAE standards have a profound affect when part of the building code. You need not be a member of ASHRAE or IAQA to get involved with ASHRAE standards writing. You can become a corresponding member by filling out a profile on the ASHRAE website.

You Keep Building em… We’ll Keep Fixing Them. This was a plenary presentation by Forensic Carpenter Bart Loemmel. This presentation focused on how poor building workmanship causes IAQ problems. Bart lives and works in a cold climate over 10,000 feet elevation in Colorado. He showed examples of how both new construction and renovations can be bungled and lead to IAQ problems. One key point is recognizing that building climate affects how buildings should be constructed. Some of the issues he runs into are liquid water (flashing, pipe leaks etc.) but a growing number are related to air leaks and heat conduction issues. Cold spots are potential issues and when we try to decrease energy use there can be unintended consequences. Don Weekes also mentioned a growth opportunity highlighted in one of Mr. Loemmell’s case studies in his presentation. Marijuana growing facilities are a new opportunity for those in our industry. IAQ problems in these types of facilities are often related to ventilation issues and chemical exposures.

The big takeaway from this presentation for Radio Joe was the Importance of identifying a mentor and sticking with that mentor to help guide your career. Bart picked a great mentor (Joe Lstiburek) and kept asking him questions until Joe broke down and invited him to Summer Camp and from there, well Bart was a speaker at Summer Camp and now a Plenary Presenter at IAQA.

5 Factors Impacting Insurers and Contractors -According to Radio Joe one important key point from this presentation by Patti Harman of Claims Magazine was related to cyber security, ransom-ware and other IT related issues. For example one big box store was hacked and many records were stolen but even though they had $5 MM insurance the final cost to them was over $35 MM. Even small companies can be affected by things like ransom-ware and all companies should be thinking about how they would react if their computers were suddenly frozen and all their records stolen. Very few small to medium companies have a plan and even less have insurance for this type of attack.

Don- In one example he is familiar with there was a costly hack of government computer system, result is no unclean USBs allowed in government buildings.

Don & Joe’s final thoughts:
Don is excited about the IAQA’s growth through international members. Chapters have now opened in India, Singapore, Shanghai and British Columbia. India hosts a large event similar to the ASHRE AHR. India is interested in writing standards on IAQ and portable air cleaners.

Don and Dr. Alice Delia are co-chairing IAQA/ASHRAE Chicago Jan. 22-24, 2018. 44 sessions, 4 tracks, debates, ignite presentations (5 minutes 20 slides)

Joe- It only takes bringing back one good idea to make attending an event or training worthwhile + all the networking and shopping opportunities.

Radio Joe also played back an interview he did with Kevin Kennedy of Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas City. Kevin was part of the panel highlighted by Don. This 20 minute interview was a show in itself and IAQ Radio is so excited about the content we are having a transcript done for release later. We will be sure to let listeners know when the transcript from the interview is available.