Indoor Air Quality

Bryan Smith: The Disruptive Design Interview

THEN & NOW – TEN YEARS GONE It’s hard to believe it’s been over ten years since design started for Penn State’s Hort Woods Child Care Center.  What’s your take-away over that time period?  〉  Well, I was in my early/mid-thirties and now I’m in my early/mid-forties!  Jokes aside, those ten years have made a huge difference.  I was a newly PE’d engineer with some ideas and passion for sustainability trying to prove those idea to others…and to myself.  Since then, those concepts have held water in multiple instances.  I can present myself as experienced and the concepts as legitimized. ... Read More

Want Fries With That?

When cooking up a new kitchen design, key ingredients to consider are the proper ventilation and conditioning of the space. Balancing the heat output of the kitchen equipment, managing odor migration to other spaces, preventing smoke roll-out at hoods, and maintaining a comfortable working environment requires a carefully designed mechanical system. The heat output from the fryers, griddles, ranges, ovens, and steamers in a typical full service kitchen is substantial. The primary method of removing this heat is via exhaust hoods. By exhausting air in large volumes, exhaust hoods not only capture fumes and control cooking odors, but they also... Read More

Hung Out Too Dry? Humidify!

The average American spends up to 85% of each day indoors. Whether at home, work, or school, our spending the majority of our time inside places tremendous importance on maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Consequently, building heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems must be designed to promote occupant health and comfort. Several factors can influence occupant comfort levels including temperature, humidity, air speed, clothing level, and metabolic rate. While temperature tends to be the most obvious factor, humidity also plays a major role in determining the perception of an environment. The saying that ‘you can’t please everyone all of the... Read More

Venting About Dryers

There is more to know about cleaning laundry than separating whites and colors. While it is easy to overlook what goes on behind the scenes, a ‘hands off’ approach to laundry functions can lead to higher operating costs and safety concerns. Dryer exhaust systems function to remove irritating and potentially harmful moisture, odors, and exhaust gases. A typical residential dryer can remove up to one gallon of water from a single load of laundry. Without exhaust systems, high concentrations of moisture in laundry rooms would promote mold and mildew growth, leading to health and possibly structural problems. “Signs of dryer... Read More

Good Filters, Bad Filters: What Happens When Dirty Filters Are Left in Place

Everyone knows that keeping clean filters in an air handling system is important to maintaining good indoor air quality. What everyone may not know is that leaving dirty filters in place can have an equally negative impact on indoor air quality, becoming a significant source of indoor air pollution. A recently published review of studies conducted by independent researchers throughout the last twenty years conclusively demonstrates that dirty filters are a key contributor to poor indoor air quality. The studies show that the problem was not with the filters themselves, their installation, or their location in the system, but with... Read More

How’s the Weather Inside?

The relationship of the thermal environment inside a building to the comfort, welfare, and productivity of people is a significant and sometimes overlooked component of facility design. Typically, when we think of thermal comfort, we most likely consider temperature alone. However, while temperature does have the most dramatic effect on our thermal environment, it is only one of several important components. Building surface temperatures, humidity, and air velocity (drafts) all bear directly on a person’s comfort. Since each of these elements plays an important role, we must address each of them in the design of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning... Read More

Pools: Swimming in the Details

Natatoriums can be a source of great enjoyment for swimmers, but also a source of frustration and high levels of maintenance for Owners, if not designed and constructed properly. Many factors must be considered when designing a comfortable pool environment such as humidity control, air flow distribution, and material selection. Air with a high level of entrained moisture will negatively affect comfort and, in extreme circumstances, the health of the occupants. Additionally, the moisture in the air will condense on cooler surfaces such as walls, exterior doors, and windows when surface temperatures drop below the dew point. This condensation can... Read More