Our approach to INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ) evaluations is discreet and non-disruptive. Recommendations, if required, are offered professionally and confidentially.

Our Indoor Air Quality services are managed by a Certified Indoor Air Quality Professional (CIAQP). This designation, earned through the Association of Energy Engineers, recognizes comprehensive knowledge in the field of Indoor Air Quality.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY SERVICES

> Phase I Indoor Air Quality Investigations
> Air Monitoring
> Air and Surface Sampling
> Proactive IAQ Quality Assurance Monitoring Programs
> Site Assessment and Facility-Use Evaluation
> HVAC System Analysis
> Source and Biological Contaminants


BENEFITS OF PROACTIVE IAQ PROGRAMS

> Reduces Occupant Comfort Complaints
> Decreased IAQ-Related Absenteeism
> Affords Third-Party IAQ Assurance
> Lessens Probability of Healthy Buildings Becoming Unhealthy

Indoor Air Quality awareness is critical to building owners and managers for the efficient and productive management of their facilities.





Indoor Air Quality Sample Projects

OFFICE ENVIRONMENT IAQ INVESTIGATION
An IAQ investigation was performed to determine what may have contributed to the respiratory discomfort experienced by an employee. For analysis and comparison of data, a non-complaint area and an outside air location were also included in the investigation. The IAQ evaluation included air sampling for concentrations of Viable Fungal Bioaerosols and Total Fungal Bioaerosols. The investigation also included the measurement of Temperature, Relative Humidity and Carbon Dioxide. Viable fungal bioaerosol and total fungal bioaerosol data revealed concentrations and populations of fungi considered typical for indoor environments and would not be expected to produce discomfort or irritation among normal populations. No action is recommended. Concentrations of other particulate, specifically epithelial (skin) cells and fibers, were elevated throughout the indoor samples. The source of epithelial cells is generally humans and animals. It is recommended that the areas be examined for housekeeping practices and the possibility of improved filter efficiency and/or frequency of changes to reduce particulate. Temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide measurements were recorded in all sampling locations. All were within normal and acceptable ranges and none would be expected to cause discomfort or irritation among normal populations. The visual examination, conducted revealed no compelling evidence of fungal contamination. The air handler and interior of the ductwork serving the area and the area above the suspended ceiling were examined. No significant dirt, contamination nor possible contaminant pathways were observed.

BUILDING-RELATED ILLNESS INVESTIGATION
An employee working in an office environment expressed concerns regarding the possibility of a building-related illness. This action prompted the request for selected Indoor Air Quality testing and sampling. The major goals of the project were to conduct selective air sampling to determine if there were any reasons for concern or reasons to incite further investigation.

Areas where the employee had been assigned would be the focal point of the investigation with outside air as a comparison.  Tests were conducted for concentrations of Viable Fungal Bioaerosols, Total Fungal Bioaerosols, Volatile Organic Compounds, Formaldehyde, Temperature, Relative Humidity, Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.

Viable fungal bioaerosol data revealed concentrations and populations of fungi considered typical for indoor environments with one location having elevated levels of the fungal organism Cladosporium. This is an extremely common fungus and the one most isolated from the air. The potential for an outdoor bias is strongly suspected. Total fungal bioaerosol data did indicate that all of the indoor samples contained elevated total concentrations.  These were primarily composed of epithelial (skin) cells and fibers. The source of epithelial cells is generally humans and animals. Again, the potential for an outdoor bias is strongly suspected based upon the outdoor concentrations. To reduce both types of particulate we recommended increasing filter efficiency and frequency of changes. VOC results from the laboratory indicate acceptable concentrations and research indicates that no discomfort would be detected. Formaldehyde was lower than the currently recommended level and would not be expected to produce discomfort or irritation among normal populations. Relative humidity readings were taken in all sampling locations and would be considered to be lower than desirable possibly causing respiratory dryness and discomfort. Temperature, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide were all within acceptable ranges.

BASELINE and IAQ INVESTIGATION
We were asked to establish baseline data and determine if there were any lingering problems from rain water that had previously infiltrated the building. As one employee had experienced allergic reactions, including throat swelling and respiratory difficulties both complaint and non-complaint areas were tested for Viable Fungal Bioaerosols, Total Fungal Bioaerosols, Surface Sampling, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Formaldehyde, Temperature and Relative Humidity (RH), with visual examination of the ceiling areas and interior of the duct work.

Viable fungal bioaerosol data revealed concentrations and populations of fungi considered typical for indoor environments. Data did reveal three locations with elevated levels of the fungal organism Penicillium. However, Penicillium was observed in the outdoor sample at greater concentrations than observed indoors. The potential for an outdoor bias was strongly suspected. Similarly, total fungal bioaerosol data indicated all indoor samples contained elevated total concentrations; however, they were below outdoor levels. The potential for an outdoor bias was strongly suspected. Surface Fungal sampling by swab sampling revealed the presence of fungal bioparticulate, however, is not considered to be characteristic of a major active source of contamination. In the absence of compelling visual evidence of active fungal contamination, these data most probably reflect the accumulation of transitory fungal spores on a variety of interior surfaces. VOC and Total VOC results from the laboratory indicated generally acceptable levels below the expected discomfort range; therefore, exposure effects are possible if other exposures interact. Formaldehyde levels were lower than the currently recommended level and would not be expected to produce discomfort or irritation among normal populations. Temperature and relative humidity measurements were within acceptable ranges. The visual examination with a fiber-optic borescopic inspection device revealed no visual evidence of active fungal contamination in the areas above the ceiling, inside the fan coil, at the grilles and fresh air supply or in the supply and return air duct work.

Although identification of fungi was apparent in the swab samples there was no compelling widespread visual evidence of active fungal contamination. Damaged and stained ceiling tiles needed to be replaced and it was suggested to further explore the possible reasons for the elevated levels and possible amplification sources of penicillium (as it grows off organic matter and is commonly found in soils and moisture from houseplant pots and can also invade HVAC systems).

CENTRAL OFFICE IAQ INVESTIGATION
Several employees working in different areas of a Central Office complex expressed concerns about a musty/moldy-type odor, respiratory discomfort, sinus pain and headaches while working in the building. Air and surface sampling was conducted for Viable Fungal Bioaerosols, Total Fungal Bioaerosols, Temperature, Relative Humidity and Carbon Dioxide and a visual inspection performed.

Viable fungal bioaerosol data for the indoor samples revealed concentrations and populations of fungi considered typical for indoor environments. Data revealed elevated levels of the fungal organism Penicillium in one area. Although an extremely common species, the concentrations and populations in other areas were either very low or absent of Penicillium. The outside air concentration was also significantly lower. Total fungal bioaerosol data revealed concentrations and populations of fungi considered typical for indoor environments. Concentrations of other particulate, specifically fibers, were elevated throughout the indoor samples. These are generally natural or man made textile fibers typically from clothing, carpets or upholstery. It is recommended that the areas be examined for housekeeping practices and the possibility of improved filter efficiency and/or frequency of changes to reduce particulate. Temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide measurements were all within satisfactory ranges.

All interior surfaces of the main air handler, including the condensate pan, filters and coils were heavily contaminated. It was recommended that the air handler be thoroughly cleaned, pleated filters be installed and serviced regularly and the insulation on the exterior of the supply duct work in the mechanical room be repaired. Viable fungal data from the main air handling unit confirmed the visual examination of significant growth and contamination. The interior of the supply, return and exhaust ductwork in the office areas was examined in various locations.  The return air ductwork and exhaust ductwork needs to be cleaned. It was surmised that the elevated levels of fibers were attributable to inadequate filtration and to the build up in the return air ductwork.

The area above the dropped ceiling was examined in various locations. The plywood roofing visible in the duplication room revealed water stains. It was not possible to determine if this was an indication of current or past water intrusion. The wall in one office was stained by water infiltration from above. The ceiling area above this office was examined and revealed a definite opening to the outside near the roof/wall intersection. There was an obvious positive pressure in the plenum area indicating duct leakage. It was recommended that the duct work be sealed and all uninsulated duct work insulated to avoid condensation. There was indication of water intrusion at the outside doors to the mechanical room. It was recommended that measures to eliminate water from the mechanical room be taken; floor drains should be clear of obstruction to insure water drainage and p-traps should be kept full to avoid introduction of sewer gasses. Previous hot water piping leaks were evident but no current leakage was found. The hot water piping insulation should be replaced where it has been removed (energy efficiency). There was standing water around the perimeter of the building and it was recommended that drainage be improved to move moisture away from the foundation of the building and all stained ceiling tiles need to be replaced.


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