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


Winds of Change

HOW HOUSTON WINS AT IAQ

Earlier this year, I attended a conference where I had the opportunity to talk to people from other parts of the country who work in indoor air quality. I learned a lot about IAQ problems other cities are just starting to acknowledge, like certain approaches to dealing with mold. This surprised me because …


Feeling the Heat

WHEN WILDFIRES THREATEN INDOOR AIR QUALITY

No, you’re not imagining things. It really is getting hotter out there. There’s been an increase in the number of Texas wildfires over the last few years. Last year, there were over 900 wildfires in the state of Texas alone. Rising temperatures and droughts will likely only make these blazes worse. The biggest threats these fires pose is the loss of human life and immense property damage. However, even if you or your building


Secret Agent IAQ Man

THE PROBLEM WITH HIDDEN IAQ PROBLEMS

There are two kinds of calls I can get when a client hires me to investigate indoor air quality complaints in their building. I estimated that 99 percent of the time when I get a call from a building owner or property manager, they ask me to come investigate the building, run the tests, and talk to the people who have been complaining. Their goal is to address any possible problems quickly, and


Another Country Bans Asbestos

(NO, IT’S STILL NOT THE UNITED STATES)

In 2018, Canada officially banned the use of all types of asbestos and products containing asbestos. This ban was a huge victory for workers at risk from asbestos and Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU), who spent years lobbying for the change. With this ban, Canada joined 55 other countries who have banned the use of all types of asbestos.


Blue Sky and Good Will vs. Science

BEWARE IAQ MIRACLE CURES

Last August, I was approached by a guy who claimed to have an amazing product that used hydrogen peroxide to oxidize odors and particles in the air. It worked great, he insisted, and would solve almost every indoor air quality problem. After being endorsed by both the U.S. Army and Homeland Security, he wanted