Mold, Fire, and Lead

THE RISK OF LEAD EXPOSURE IN REMEDIATION

For most of human history, lead was a popular material in art and construction, thanks to its extreme malleability and corrosion resistance. Ancient Egyptians used lead for sculptures and pottery glazes. The Greeks lined the hulls of their ships with lead. And the Romans used lead to build their elaborate water systems. Found in everything from roofing to makeup, lead’s widespread use resulted…


Talk About Timing

CONFERENCES, CRUISES, AND COVID-19

Summer is almost here, and I know many people are planning their summer vacations. I’ve already taken my big vacation this year, and I must say, it was a pretty great trip. This past February, I went on my very first cruise. Talk about timing. To be clear, I booked this trip back in 2019, well before COVID-19 began popping up all over the world.


Why are we still using 150-year-old technology to test…

Between 2000 and 2019, the number of reported Legionnaires’ disease cases in the United States rose by 800%. This disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria and kills over 10% of people infected. Almost 10,000 cases of legionellosis (an umbrella term for two illnesses caused by Legionella bacteria) were reported in 2018 alone. This deadly waterborne disease is …


Hidden Underfoot

THE BEST NAME FOR A CRAWL SPACE DOG

This month, I want to talk about something that has been described to me as the “most terrifying” part of a building: the crawl space. In early February, I got a call from one of my clients asking me to come out to El Paso to do an air quality survey in a building near the border. This job came with a stipulation that I would have to go into the crawl space …


First Rule of (Building Science) Fight Club

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters humanity has ever invented. You can open an app to check your updates after dinner, and suddenly it’s past midnight! That said, of course I’m on social media. It’s 2020 after all! There are two forms of social media I use: LinkedIn and Instagram. LinkedIn is a good opportunity for me to learn about …


Tools of the Trade

WHAT MAKES AN IAQ EXPERT

Technology is only as smart as the person using it. A quality graphing calculator might be able to determine the force needed to break free of the Earth’s gravity, but I’m not a rocket scientist. You could give me the fanciest calculator on the market, but you shouldn’t use any equation I come up with to build rockets. It’s not enough to have a quality piece of equipment; you need
to know how to use it.


Stairway to Nowhere

WHEN THERMAL BRIDGING GUIDES MOLD INTO YOUR BUILDING

Over the last 10 years, whenever I get a call in late August or early September, I can guess what the problem is before I even answer the phone. The ends of my summers are almost always spent in hot, humid stairwells, looking at mold.


What’s that Smell?

STRANGE STORIES OF CHASING ODORS

Of all the work I do with indoor air quality (IAQ), chasing odors tends to lead to some of the strangest stories. It’s not my favorite part of my job, but when a client calls with an odor problem, I’m not going to leave them hanging.


A Better Building

IAQ POINTS IN LEED CERTIFICATIONS

Everyone wants a better building, which is why so many new buildings aim to meet the high standards outlined by the Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED-certified buildings are recognized internationally for green building design, occupant comfort, productivity, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.


What’s Changed?

CELEBRATING 30 YEARS AND COUNTING

I started Building Air Quality 30 years ago. Indoor air quality was still a relatively new field at the time, and I had no idea what this industry would become. Back then, we focused on IAQ consulting and cleaning air conditioning systems. I couldn’t have predicted that over the years it would develop into