Guidelines to Improve IAQ
Retrofits will improve energy, air quality
Noting that children spend most of their days in school facili- ties and that childhood exposure to contaminants can have
far-reaching effects even into adulthood, the EPA has consolidated its energy efficiency and IAQ recommendations for school
renovations into one tool: Energy Savings Plus Health. The
guidelines highlight how to achieve energy efficiency without
causing a drop in indoor air quality.
The tool covers a wide range of IAQ considerations, such
as moisture and mold control, asbestos, lead, polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs), radon, tracked-in pollutants, and vehicle
exhaust. In addition to eliminating sources of indoor pollution,
facility managers can also make system adjustments to keep
contamination and energy efficiency in check.
The document provides a customizable action plan for 23
building upgrade scenarios and provides step-by-step instructions for safe implementation that can help reduce the risk of
airborne pollutants and keep students safe during renovations.
Additionally, the resource includes links to the building codes for
each type of possible renovation or retrofit and measures to help
mitigate IAQ concerns during each step of the upgrade process.
Strategies include delamping old ballasts, improving wall
and floor sealing, adding moisture barriers, cleaning ductwork,
upgrading outdoor ventilation, adding temperature and humidity
controls, replacing soiled carpet, repainting with low-VOC formulas, using integrated pest management, and steam cleaning.
Sustainable LEDs at a Lower
Scientists have developed bulbs that are free of rare
Though it’s well-known that incandescent
bulbs are consistently
outperformed by LEDs,
the high initial cost of LED
bulbs still keeps some
consumers from opting
for the more efficient
choice. One factor driving
up costs could become a thing of the past by eliminating costly
rare earth metals from the bulbs.
Currently, rare earth materials are necessary to manufacture
LED bulbs and other cutting-edge technology, which drives up
demand and production prices. A report published in the
Journal of the American Chemical Society, “Systematic Approach in
Designing Rare-Earth-Free Hybrid Semiconductor Phosphors
for General Lighting Applications,” outlines a new method that
uses copper iodide, a common compound, instead of more
In addition to the cost and environmental benefits, the
scientists’ design solves another common problem plaguing
LED adoption: light quality. While commercially available bulbs
produce light that is considered to be less “warm” than incandescent options, the new LEDs are easily tuned to a warm white
shade similar to the color of other bulbs.
For more than a decade, the federal government has declared its commitment to sustainable buildings through presidential
directives and executive orders, legislation, and government
policies. The results are now in – when it comes to the business
case for sustainability, green buildings save energy, cost less to
operate, and have smaller carbon footprints.
GSA and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conducted a post-occupancy evaluation study of 22 green federal
buildings from across the country. The data was drawn from one
year of operating data and surveys of building occupants. By
looking critically at real world performance, the report demonstrates that GSA is on track to achieve its sustainability goals by
delivering high-performance, ecofriendly workplaces.
Compared to the national average of commercial buildings,
the findings show that these green government facilities:
■ Cost 19% less to maintain
■ Use 25% less energy and water
■ Emit 36% fewer carbon dioxide emissions
■ Have a 27% higher rate of occupant satisfaction
THE WAYNE MORSE FEDERAL COURTHOUSE in Eugene, OR, was
Post-occupancy evaluation reveals improved performance
the first LEED Gold courthouse. Built in 2006, the building’s sus-
tainable features include an underfloor air distribution system,
daylight sensors, low-flow fixtures, and low-emitting materials.
The buildings, which varied by year and size, achieved savings
using widely available strategies. These include underfloor air dis-
tribution, irrigation rain sensors, variable speed drives, vegetated
or reflective roofs, PV panels, and energy-efficient elevators.
GSA Verifies Impact of Green Facilities