Steve Pascoe – Greenville, SC School District – School IEQ Issues and Answers

Air Date: 5-13-2016| Episode: 414

This week on IAQ Radio we have a man in the field interview with the facilities coordinator at the Greenville, SC School District. Steve Pascoe has a crew of _ people helping keep the lights on and the IAQ acceptable in over 200 buildings in mixed humid Greenville, SC…

Full Description:

This week on IAQ Radio we have a man in the field interview with the facilities coordinator at the Greenville, SC School District. Steve Pascoe has a crew of _ people helping keep the lights on and the IAQ acceptable in over 200 buildings in mixed humid Greenville, SC. Radio Joe is teaching in Greenville at the Greenville Technical College, Buck Mickel Center. Over the years Steve and Joe have worked together training Steve’s crew and teaching others about indoor environmental quality. Steve started out in Technical School and has worked his way up the ranks to become facilities coordinator. The ups and downs of managing this many buildings, the war stories and the hard knocks have given Steve a depth of experience and knowledge our listeners will appreciate.

Z-Man’s Blog:

Keeping it real

Stephen Pasco, preventative maintenance master foreman for the Greenville, SC school district was the guest on this week’s episode of IAQradio. Steve is responsible for 107 buildings. The mix includes: high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, athletic facilities and stadiums, administrative offices and child development centers. Among the building stock are some very old buildings with modern additions and several LEED buildings some with solar capability buildings which have won awards for energy management.  Greenville is a fast growing area as such the majority of the buildings are 10-12 years old. Greenville is in a mixed humid climate, where it rains hard most afternoons.

Nuggets mined from today’s interview:

The primary heating systems are hot water boilers. Older buildings used through the wall heat pumps. It’s important that controls for heat pump controls are set correctly to run compressors when needed. It’s important to ensure air supplied by fresh air units is conditioned before it enters the building.

Ductless mini split units are used to keep computer rooms cooler.

He’s conducted thorough filter testing. It’s important to keep on top of filters on energy recovery ventilators. Fresh air filters are replaced monthly. Air handler filters are replaced every 90 days. He prefers MERV 8 panel filters. Filters with cardboard frames grow mold.

The majority of the building challenges are related to roof systems and pipe leaks.

95% of the required work is done by in-house staff.

What’s more important, saving energy or maintaining good IEQ? For example using improved filters to reduce allergens and keep coils clean requires an increase in motor RPMs resulting in a loss of energy efficiency. Some tension occurs when advocates with opposing positions try to balance opposing concerns about energy efficiency and IEQ.

Libraries are an IEQ challenge because they have lots of paper and prefer higher RH.

Odors caused by moisture and perspiration are a challenge to control in locker rooms. Installation of inline dehumidifiers has surprisingly reduced odors.

Custodial staff do deep clean schools over the summer. Keeping people in and eyes on buildings prevents mold bloom over the summer.

Issues such as peanut allergy are handled at the school level by admin.

IEQ complaints received by custodians flow up through four custodial supervisors to Steve. Upon receipt of a complaint: Steve goes to site, speaks with administration, inspects the suspected area, looks for visual evidence of water intrusion and/or odors, and measures temp, dewpoint and RH. The district’s policy is to use a 3rd party IEP to sample on every complaint. Most often, 3rd party testing demonstrates there is no problem.

Custodians and Steve’s staff have day jobs and night jobs. Their day job is to do the needed custodial work and preventative maintenance. Microbial remedial is done at night. The staff responds to emergencies 24/7.

Steve’s staff have undergone mold remediation training. The staff have medical evaluations and have been fit tested for PPE. The staff are fully equipped to respond to water damages and mold remediation using district owned equipment. Equipment includes infrared camera which is used to locate roof leaks and search for hot spots in electrical panels.

War story. A custodial specialist asked Steve to come out and look at mold behind cove base. Upon closer and wider examination the problem was extensive and cumulative caused by: moisture draining toward the building, mulch covering and clogging weep holes in brick facing, leaking windows, incorrectly installed roof drain scuppers and air movement through parapet walls. Resolution of the situation required outside assistance of 2 restoration companies to remove drywall and insulation.

In the event of a NORO virus or MRSA incident, the procedure is to clean the HVAC system, change filters and get“all hands on deck” for a joint cleaning effort.

In elementary schools teachers preach frequent hand washing.

Steve aired the common complaint about underperforming “green products”.

The most impressive PRV sample results he’s seen were after using a mixture of 20 Mule Team Borax and Dawn dishwashing liquid for a mold cleanup.

Can’t prevent teachers from bring “crap” to school.

Steve said:  “I don’t think about teaching and teachers don’t think about mechanical systems.”

His favorite building has: minimal drywall, concrete block walls, open ceilings, wire trays with everything is exposed and a polished cement floor.

“Concerned teachers” are the most challenging group he communicates with.

“Knowledge of the world in the palm of their hands.”  All staff have smart phones which are used to receive work orders, research on the internet, search SDS, etc.

It’s always fun and educational to talk to the guys in the trenches.

Today’s music:  “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper

Z-Man signing off

Trivia question:

What is the definition of the word triskaidekaphobia?

Answer: Extreme superstition regarding the number 13