Richard Corsi, PhD –U. of Texas, Austin – Challenges and Opportunities for the Indoor Sciences Community – {Flashback Friday Original Air Date: 9-26-2014| Episode: 341}

Air Date: 5-26-2017|Episode 461


This week we flashback to a show from 9-26-14 with Richard Corsi, PhD. We had a great series with Dr. Corsi and several of his students. We called the series Research to Practice. This show set up the next three we did with him and his students. It was a great discussion of the challenges and opportunitiescoming for the IAQ world…

Full Description:

This week we flashback to a show from 9-26-14 with Richard Corsi, PhD. We had a great series with Dr. Corsi and several of his students. We called the series Research to Practice. This show set up the next three we did with him and his students. It was a great discussion of the challenges and opportunitiescoming for the IAQ world.

Richard Corsi, PhD is the Chair & ECH Bantel Professor for Professional Practice Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He earned his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California at Davis in 1989. He joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1994. Dr. Corsi researches indoor air quality, including sources and control of indoor air pollution and human exposure to indoor toxins. He has also studied how architectural materials can remove chemicals from building air, offering protection for occupants following terrorist attacks.

Z-Man’s Blog:

Challenges and Opportunities for the IAQ Community
This week’s guest on IAQradio was Richard Corsi, PhD the Chair & ECH Bantel Professor for Professional Practice Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
Nuggets mined from this week’s episode:
  • Comparatively, the University of Texas at Austin IAQ program is large by US standards. While UT Austin’s IAQ programs are based in engineering other notable US programs such as Harvard’s and UC Berkeley’s IAQ programs are more public health focused.
  • Interest and funding in collegiate level IAQ research is very high in the Pacific Rim.
  • Kudos to architect Hal Levin for organizing the microbiology program at the Indoor Environment 2014 conference; highlights included: genomic analysis, beneficial and harmful microbes and asthma.
  • Would have preferred more interaction with practitioners at the conference.
  • Poor IAQ affects worker productivity and may cause illness. Buildings with poor IAQ are often stigmatized.
  • Microbiology and chemistry going on inside buildings causes degradation of building materials and furnishings.
  • UT’s Harry Ransom Center advances the study of the arts and humanities by acquiring, preserving, and making accessible original cultural materials. The oldest photo on earth and a Guttenberg bible are among the notable items in their collection.
  • In regard to IAQ problems with buildings, US owners are on their own while in some foreign countries the government intercedes. In Belgium purple cars are dispatched to homes when physicians suspect carbon monoxide or other serious IAQ problem.
  • Buildings are connected to and have a big impact on our planet. Buildings consume 40% of all energy produced. Buildings use fossil fuels resulting in greenhouse gas emission and pollution. Shading and lack of sunlight are building related issues which need to be considered.
  • Alarmingly, flame retardants and other persistent organic pollutants are found in the fat of animals in the Arctic and Antarctic. Persistent organic chemicals used in buildings get into the environment and migrate effecting remote ecosystems.
  • A comparison of materials from past IAQ conference demonstrates that IAQ research is dynamic. Issues of current interest such as DNA based testing, flame retardants, plasticizers and climate change were previously absent.
  • Buildings are dynamic over time, whether examined over minutes or decades. Buildings are dynamic because people come and go. Buildings affect meteorology.
  • IAQ is a complex subject. Physicians in the mid 1800s wrote about SBS (sick building syndrome). We still don’t understand SBS today. We know damp buildings cause respiratory and other health problems, but we don’t know why.
  • When something bad happens either within a human or building anatomy, it can cause other things to go wrong.
  • Lack of interdisciplinary communication. Thermal comfort folks don’t know about microbiology or chemistry. Research isn’t shared between different disciplines. Building occupants connect to everything, understanding of social science and human behavior is lacking.
  • Sharing of grant funding isn’t encouraged. Interdisciplinary collaboration should be encouraged.
  • More research on microenvironments is being done. Humans spend 1/3 of their lives in bed. Are there better and healthier ways to sleep?
  • Educating the public about the positive benefits of IAQ will stimulate business opportunities while too much negative information turns people off.
  • Researchers don’t know what practitioners want and need. Research must be practical to be effective. Researchers may not know and understand how technology is actually used in the field. When researchers and practitioners work together the industry will advance and thrive. Simple research isn’t always expensive. Suggestion that each year practitioners prioritize the top 5 areas where research is needed.
  • While hydroxyl generators are likely effective in eliminating contaminates; production of unwanted byproducts and/or adverse effects on materials should be considered.
  • The avalanche of green products and materials being introduced lack long term performance data. Science can’t predict performance.
  • Costs for new tools such as DNA analyses are more affordable.
  • Samples provide more information than culture based specimens.
  • Wireless technology for collecting data is more affordable.  Wireless technology collects Big Data; the challenge is how to process Big Data?
  • Educating practitioners is important. Research needs to be boiled down so that practitioners can use it in best ways. Research needs to be translated so that practitioners can understand it.
  • IAQ is exciting and challenging because it is complicated; IAQ research has great intellectual merit.
Z-Man signing off
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