Online educational resource on achieving indoor environmental quality with radiant based HVAC systems
Not for profit educational resource on indoor environmental quality.
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not for profit educational resource


10 points every architect, engineer, contractor and their clients should know about indoor air quality theory - sample slides. For additional support visit our visitor services page.

Our integrated design program has over 2100 slides illustrating architectural, interior design and HVAC engineering principles which contribute to indoor environmental quality and energy allocation for conditioning the occupants and building.

The following course materials on IAQ theory are samples from the lecture and based on a Steven Covey principle of "Begin with the End in Mind". They are a very small but important sample of the Covey principle and are provided here to give you an idea of what kind of materials we'll be discussing during the program.

The course is also registered with AIA and participants can earn up to 21 Learning Units.

For more sample slides visit our list of training modules.

Figure 1: There are two absolutes in IAQ, the first says, just because you can't prove something doesn't exists doesn't mean its not there...this is part and parcel of the "Precautionary Principle" which says in the absence of solid data one should proceed with caution. It also implies that you should not draw conclusive conclusions from any investigation without comprehensive research and since this is not practical in all but the most detailed studies - what you can expect is generalization unless proven otherwise. As with all our descriptions in these sample slides - the discussion is much deeper but you'll have to come to class for that broader talk.

Figure 2: This is the second absolute...why can someone smoke their whole life and then die from natural causes while another will develop lung cancer at an early age? There is so much we don't don't know about genetics and epigentics but one thing we do know is some people are bullet proof and others not so much. The environment is full of triggers from allergens to pathogens and sometimes for some people these initiate a physical and psychological response that may allude others.

Figure 3: Our purpose at is to integrate the knowledge between the health and building scientists. We're also very clear that people in the building world shouldn't pretend to be healthcare workers likewise we don't expect doctors to be building experts. We spend some time drawing the line and guiding our students what is acceptable IAQ practice as it relates to buildings and what to avoid so they don't cross the line into the domain of medicine.

Figure 4: Above is how we see the circle of knowledge and how we express that people can be experts in one or perhaps a few areas but it would take some extraordinary individual to have all the knowledge. It's important to know your skills and limitations and this is something we teach in the course.

Figure 5: This is a lesson for those who believe air filtration is the only solution to IAQ problems. Lets just say if the pollutant is on the conveyor belt it can be filtered out...but many IAQ problems are not airborne problems and have to be solved without filtration.

Figure 6: One of my favourite lectures was Dr. Green's TED talk on microbes in the environment. She has a wonderful animation of the HVAC system and its distribution capabilities for delivery air which can include a plethora of microbes - some good and some bad. Its well worth watching if you have an IAQ interest.

Figure 7: ASHRAE have been updating their position documents on indoor environmental quality concerns. These contain excellent information and are public documents - we recommend you read them.

Figure 8: In the world of building science, moisture is the number one problem. Too little or too much and you'll find environmental challenges. Working with our colleagues from Science Photo Library we have acquired several high resolution SEM images of common moisture related IAQ concerns and discuss them during the program.

Figure 9:  Our job in the world of indoor climate engineering and building sciences is to prevent the occupants from entering this hierarchy of medical issues. Whether its asbestos, radon or carbon monoxide - most IAQ concerns related to buildings are preventable. At the end of the day it's about being proactive at the beginning of the design stage rather than reacting to failed designs. A key message for our students.

Figure 10: The above slide is self explanatory when it comes to IAQ. As a side bar in reality - building suppliers, trades people and contractors are not required to study the effects of their finished product on human physiology and psychology; and yet it will be the sensory systems from a real live human being that will be the final judge. As it is today, the building industry is judged by how it assembles parts, not necessarily how those parts affect the health of the environment and by connection the health of the occupants. In part this is due to our culture of leaning naively on building codes for "protection". Occupants of commercial buildings and home owners need to understand what it means to have a built to code structure and why better building protocols such as LEED™ or CHMC EQuilibrium™ or Energy Star Breathe Easy programs are worth adopting. It's for these reasons and many others we believe building suppliers, trades people, contractors, engineers, interior designers and architects need to take a basic course in human anatomy and physiology as it relates to the indoor environment.

So there you have it, a few sample slides from our IAQ theory lecturer...just a hors d'oeu·vre from our library of over 2100 slides addressing a small but important element of integrated design and radiant based HVAC systems. In the program we will get into this and a whole lot more? How much more? Well just follow the links to the other parts of our website and you’ll get a feel for the scope of materials that we’ll be covering.

See you soon.

Robert Bean, R.E.T., P.L.(Eng.)
Registered Engineering Technologist - Building construction (ASET #8167)
Professional Licensee (Engineering) - HVAC (APEGA #105894)
Building Sciences / Industry Development
ASHRAE Committees: T.C.61. (CM), T.C.6.5 (VM), T.C. 7.04 (VM), SSPC 55 (VM)
ASHRAE SSPC 55 - User Manual Task Leader

Note: The author participates on several ASHRAE and other industry related committees but be advised the materials and comments presented do not necessarily represent the views of these societies, only the president of the society or nominated representative may speak on behalf of the organization.

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