My Office Is Killing Me - Jeffrey C. May
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My Office Is Killing Me - Jeffrey C. May

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Presentation delivered at MassRecycle's 4th Annual Green Office / Green Facility Conference, Bentley University, June 15, 2010. Get invited to next year’s conference by signing up to ...

Presentation delivered at MassRecycle's 4th Annual Green Office / Green Facility Conference, Bentley University, June 15, 2010. Get invited to next year’s conference by signing up to MassRecycle’s free email newsletter at www.massrecycle.org.

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My Office Is Killing Me - Jeffrey C. May My Office Is Killing Me - Jeffrey C. May Presentation Transcript

  • Since 1992, Even LEED My Office is Killing Me: we have completed more than 1,500 more than 1,500 Buildings Surviving the “sick building have Sick Building Syndrome investigations” in investigations” Problems homes, schools, businesses and offices. Sponsored by MassRecycle, Bentley University, 6/15/10 We have taken and analyzed by microscopy over Jeffrey C. May, M.A. 25,000 air and dust May Indoor Air Investigations, LLC samples. Tyngsborough, MA May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May © 2009 Stata-artslibrary Indoor Air Investigations LLC About 40% of Our Energy Is But fresh air must be 15 cubic feet of fresh air Consumed By Buildings supplied. per occupant per minute in schools, 20 cfm in offices Green buildings must be energy efficient This requires ENERGY and Increased efficiency of mechanical mechanical systems with This air must be equipment is mandated ducts. heated in winter and Well-insulated and “tight” buildings cooled and dried in summer save energy May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • All the air we breathe indoors has passed © 2002 Rick Hughes through the © 2008 J. May mechanical system: The Dark Passage The dark passage Windows that only open when they fall out © 2008 J. May through ducts The dark passage May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2008 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Tip: The Most Common Problematic Why do we have so many Indoor Mold Genera from IAQ problems? There should be no A/C Systems: exposed fibrous lining Cladosporium material near a cooling coil or within about 20 Aspergillus feet of the air handler Penicillium Part of the answer is mold! supply © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • Cladosporium Mold on Fiberglass Cladosporium mold in the air from Dirty Cladosporium spores in the from A/C liner an A/C supply air from an A/C supply Skin scale © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2009 J. May © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Aspergillus mold in the air from an A/C supply Dew Point Skin scales Why Does Mold Grow ? The dew point is the temperature at which moisture in air starts to condense Food Aspergillus Oxygen On dry days, the dew point is low Correct temperature range On humid days, the dew point is high From the office of client with hypersensitivity pneumonitis Moisture © 2009 J. May © 2009 J. May © 2009 Wikipedia May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • © 2010 J. May A/C duct Mold growth Dew-point condensation in a Change in Relative Humidity of 60ºF Dew-Point Air crawl space: Where there is high RH and dust, 85% RH microbial growth is very likely. © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Aspergillus on a blower blade All New Commercial The Paradox of Buildings and Most New Skin scale Air Conditioning Homes Are Built With Central Air Conditioning When air in most climates is cooled, moisture condenses on the cooling coil, wetting any Spores accumulated dust. Skin scale WET DUST=MICROBIAL GROWTH © 2010 J. May © 2010 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • Table I: Comparison of Randomly -Selected Homes and SHS Homes The “Six-Hundred Randomly selected homes SHS home Sick Structures” Study Basement moisture stains Wall-to-wall We compared 600 “sick houses” houses” carpeting to Finished/carpet ed basements 300 control homes Central air 37% 19% conditioning randomly chosen from those Forced hot air that had been inspected as part heat Moldy Mat on A/C Coil of pre-purchase agreements. pre- 0 10 20 30 40 Percent 50 60 70 © 2010 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2008 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Mold Spores (Dead or Alive) White Oxide Cause Allergy and Asthma Mold Growth in A/C-Coil Dust Mat On Symptoms Moldy Insulation Near an A/C Coil Spores from insulation near the A/C coil © 2010 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2010 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2010 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • Microbial Growth Occurs Wherever Dried Bioslime and Rust There is Dust and a Heat Exchanger Filtration is the key!!! That Cools Air Containing Moisture Dust Mold NOT with an open slot © 2010 J. May A source of “surrogate” allergen or typical Rust © 2010 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2010 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC furnace filter May Indoor Air Investigations LLC The Coil is Filtration Still Clean After Most biodegradable particles in the Two Seasons air, such as skin scales, pollen and ASHRAE Guideline Is a Minimum of lint are trapped by a MERV-8 filter. MERV 8 © 2008 J. May For families with allergies, I always A/C System Preventing the accumulation of dust recommend MERV 11. with a minimizes the chances for microbial MERV-11 growth even at high RH. Media Filter © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • With efficient filtration there is It is essential for any mechanical equipment to have an efficient filter Window Air Conditioners are not Immune no mold, no bioslime, no clogged condensate pans, no overflowing if there is air flow and air handlers. a heat exchanger that cools air or creates condensate: Moldy dust on filter Disposable filters such as Air Conditioners pleated media filters are best. Air- to- Air-to-Air Heat Exchangers Original filters are (Electronic filters need too frequent Dehumidifiers all inadequate!!! cleaning)May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2010 J. May Mold on a Window-A/C Blower Who is Negligent? The toll of energy efficiency: Given what we know, The blowers cannot support the how can a responsible static pressure of a decent filter. manufacturer sell any appliance having a Mini-split A/C manufacturer: cooling coil with “Unit will not work with MERV-8 anything less than a filter.” © 2010 J. May MERV 8 Filter???? © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • To avoid bioaerosol What do you do if you the IAQ Can bioaerosol testing tell you if makes you sick in an office???? there is a problem???? problems: Check the HVAC system first! The results depend on the MERV-8 filters must be used Look for visual problems type of testing. Coils and blowers must be clean Other common sources of IAQ Testing for culturable (live) spores problems: Avoid exposed fibrous liners always underestimates the size of •Carpets the problem. •VOC off gassing © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Bioaerosol testing should Some simple “tests”: Some simple “tests”: always include total (viable and non-viable) spore counts Monitor carbon dioxide (PM2200) For possibly allergenic particles, www.airtest.com wear an N-95 particle mask A simple comparison with Cover carpet (carpet protector) outdoor counts may not be www.pro-tect.com Temporarily cover supplies relevant…. Purchase a VOC or CH20 test kit www.pati-air.com For VOC, try wearing a charcoal if spores indoors are present in respirator chains May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • For more tips, guidance and information on how to read reports: To avoid VOC problems: Encourage non-smoking policies All Tight Buildings Must Have Fresh Air Encourage fragrance-free offices Avoid unvented solvent use Many will use air-to-air heat exchangers for ventilation. Attend today’s workshops! © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC HRV/ERV Schematic Indoor Outdoor Air Air HRVs need maintenance Blower Blower Core HRV’ HRV’ s are “green” green” Fresh-Air Intake Side © 2009 J. May © 2010 NuTech May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • HRVs are crying Turn-of-the-Century HRV Filter for with Mold Growing in Dust proper filters HRV Fresh-Air Intake Side © 2009 J. May © 2009 J. May © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC HRV HRVs Must Not Have Exposed Fibrous Liner Surfaces must be cleanable HRV with loose, soiled filter Precision filtration © 2009 J. May © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • A Temporary Solution: Fantech FB6 Inline Filter box HRV HRV with external, in-line Defrost “System” filtration Air Exhaust Supply Air Media filter HRV Media filter A grow light for Outdoor Indoor duct perfume? Drain MERV-8 MERV-8 © 2009 J. May © 2009 J. May Use MERV-8 instead of MERV- 12 May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC An Optimistic Note: The New Kitchen Cabinets Were HRV Can Improve Air Quality Off-Gassing Formaldehyde The room odor disappeared after the HRV was turned on. Dehumidifiers need efficient filtration too! By Diluting Contaminants © 2009 J. May © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC
  • Anything with a cooling coil must have at least a MERV-8 -8 media filter! Dehumidifier Snot © 2009 J. May Dehumidifier Mold May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2009 J. May May Indoor Air Investigations LLC May Indoor Air Investigations LLC © 2009 J. May For Manufacturers, It’s time for mechanical equipment to It’ It’s Wake-Up Time come with a warning label: Questions? Ladders, cigarettes, liquor and even coffee cups have WARNING: The incoming air must be consumer warnings! filtered to avoid microbial contamination. ASHRAE recommends that you use a filter with a rating of at least MERV-8. Failure to maintain filtration can lead to illness. 2001 2004 2006 2008 May Indoor Air Investigations LLC For PDF of talk: info@mayindoorair.com