16-1103 v2.1/IAQ Testing Guidance and Pre-Occupancy Results


We are submitting the following request for guidance on the IAQ thresholds for our v2.1 project, testing results and appropriate action for correction, and lower-living area testing exemption.

First, we’d like to request clarification on the PM-10 requirements for this v2.1 project. Within the IAQ Testing in LBC for 1.3/2.0/2.1 projects document (http://living-future.org/sites/default/files/12-0920-Protocol-for-Indoor-Air-Quality-Testing-in.pdf) the requirements state a threshold of 30 micrograms per cubic meter for Respirable Suspended Particulates. When researching the IAQ Testing requirements on the Dialogue and other LBC resources, it was noted that the v3.0 Health Petal Handbook indicates a threshold of 150 micrograms per cubic meter. This value appears to align with the current EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards requirement (https://www.epa.gov/criteria-air-pollutants/naaqs-table). Also for reference and comparison, the LEED v4 BD+C Reference Guide has set PM-10 maximum concentration levels at 50 micrograms per cubic meter. Based on our first round of testing prior to occupancy, the PM-10 results were slightly high; therefore, a correction action plan will be put into place by the homeowners. However, in order to have a clearer path for correction, clarification on the appropriate PM-10 threshold required for the project is needed. Given that the home does include a wood fireplace and the homeowners have two large dogs, it could become very difficult to achieve the v2.1 threshold of 30 micrograms per cubic meter. Continuous testing to attempt to meet this requirement would likely become very costly for the homeowners and may not actually be feasible to achieve.

Second, based on the v2.1 IAQ Testing in LBC protocol reference above, we ran all IAQ tests for 4 hours. Our VOC test results (TO-17) indicate that the sample tubes were overloaded causing a "high surrogate due to collating peak" and that the results "exceed calibration range". We provided the lab with 12 liters of air volume for testing based on the 4-hour collection period. Given on our past experience with this lab, they've indicated that only 4 liters of air volume is required for independent compound VOC and TVOC testing, which would convert to about an 80-minute collection period. The ‘overloading’ was the case for several compounds, so it has negatively impacted our TVOC value, which makes us question the reliability of these results. Prior to completion of the Post-Occupancy IAQ test, we’d like clarification if the tests will again be required to run for the full 4 hours. Our proposal to avoid this issue during the next round of testing would be to align our collection time (air volume) to be appropriate for the analysis method. IN the case of TO-17, which would be an 80-minute collection period (4 liters of air volume) as suggested by the lab rather than the full 4 hours. It may be worth noting that recent LEED v4 Addenda has eliminated the 4-hour IAQ testing time requirement.

Last, we’d like to request that the lower living space area (897 square feet) be exempt from requiring additional IAQ tests from those completed for the first floor living and farm office space (2,499 square feet). The lower-living space of the home is served by the same ventilation equipment as the upstairs space, is connected to the upstairs-living space via the open stairwell, and includes the same type of uses (bedroom/office and bathroom) as the upstairs uses. Additionally, the home furnishings are all from the homeowner’s previous residence and are similar in type between the two floors.


All v2.1 projects must meet the threshold of 30 micrograms per cubic meter for RSP. The v3.0 RSP threshold as printed in the August 2014 Health + Happiness Petal Handbook is a typo and will be corrected in the next handbook; it is meant to be 30 micrograms per cubic meter. 
Indoor air quality tests are no longer required to have 4-hour collection periods  if the selected test method from the US EPA's Compendium of Methods for the Determination of Air Pollutants in Indoor Air has a shorter recommended collection period.
The lower living space area does not need to be tested separately because it is connected to the testing space and served by the same ventilation equipment.

Post ID 6236

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