March 2015

President's Message

Glenn Morrison

Greetings from ISIAQ,

It is February as I am writing this and I am already looking forward to our upcoming season of ISIAQ conferences. I hope you are as well. As with all scientific conferences, I look forward to discussing posters with authors, listening to presentations, getting feedback on my own research and learning. Always learning. I especially look forward to the Healthy Buildings and Indoor Air conferences and I hope you also appreciate the unique place that these ISIAQ conferences stand in a landscape of conferences.

We are a particularly interdisciplinary society and the opportunity space for idea creation is vast. You will find plenaries that span subjects as diverse as medicine, epidemiology, chemistry, biology, behavioral studies and engineering. There will be sessions and workshops that draw together practitioners, students, academics and policy makers. Attendees represent small and large companies, universities, non-profits, government agencies and national labs. Every coffee break is a new opportunity to form potential collaborations, identify new contacts and meet that unique person that helps you find solutions to current challenges or spark a new initiative. For students, ISIAQ conferences are places to learn more about your own research area and stretching beyond to put your research in the context of the “big picture”. Here, students can meet other students, network with professors and practitioners, find job opportunities and simply have a great time at organized student activities.

The upcoming regional Healthy Buildings conferences are shaping up to be exemplars of rewarding sessions, workshops and plenaries on the diverse practice and science of indoor air quality and climate. On May 18, Healthy Buildings 2015 Europe will take place in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The theme is (Re)Creating Healthy Buildings as informed by design, policy, physiology, psychology, sustainability and building sciences. A large number of workshops will take place, treating subjects such as air cleaners, the Circadian House, housing for older people, microorganisms, noise and acoustics and chemical pollutants.  On July 19-22, Healthy Buildings 2015 America will take place in Boulder, Colorado. The conference theme is Innovation in a time of energy uncertainty and climate adaptation. Workshops topics will include microorganisms in the built environment, real-world moisture-related investigations and future funded research on the relationship between indoor air and climate change. There is still time to propose workshops for the HB15 America conference! Take a look at the web site for more details on the plenary speakers.  I hope to see you at one or both of these conferences!

Glenn Morrison


Healthy Buildings 2015 America Call for Workshop Proposals Closing Soon

The Call for Workshops for Healthy Buildings 2015-America is open for another 9 days, so get your proposal ready and submit it.

The workshop should be focused on a topic of current interest and related to the conference theme.  The timeframe for a workshop is 1-2 hours. Workshop speakers should plan to take up roughly half of the workshop timeframe, with the other allotted time used for questions and answers. The closing date for submission is March 15, 2015.

Please fill out the Workshop Submission Form here .

Samples of some Healthy Buildings Workshops Being Developed:
•    US EPA Indoor Air and Climate Change Star Grantees Workshop: Meet and hear from the researchers who are working on research to improve understanding of the effects of climate change on indoor air quality and the resulting health effects.
•    US Green Building Council Workshop:  Come to this workshop to discuss the latest LEED Indoor Air Quality Procedure and other recent work from the USGBC.
•    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Microbiology of the Built Environment Research Results Workshop: Researchers from both the microbiology and building science fields will present their work in the context of practical dissemination and implementation.
•    Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Microbiology of the Built Environment Study Methods Workshop: A panel will be convened of both practitioners and researchers to address how the microbiology of the built environment is currently being assessed with a demonstration of techniques that can be used by practitioners.
•    Real-World Building Moisture-related Investigations: Tips, Tricks and Traps:  Buildings and moisture are complicated. And the reasons & methods for investigating them are equally complicated, demanding that investigators use a wide variety of tools, techniques and skills. In this workshop, three experienced investigators will share some of their favorite tips, traps, tools and techniques for different types of building investigations involving moisture issues. The workshop format is interactive. In six (6) 15-minute segments, the workshop leaders will explain specific investigations and or tools that have proven useful to them in the past. Each segment will serve as the catalyst for different types of audience questions, and for the exchange of experiences and ideas about better ways to investigate problems in buildings.


Healthy Buildings 2015 Europe Registration Now Open

Registration for Healthy Buildings 2015 Europe has begun.  Be sure to register by March 15th to receive the early bird discount.  ISIAQ members can receive the member reduced rate by logging into the ISIAQ web site then by clicking the HB2015 registration link in the member's area.

Healthy Buildings 2015 Europe will be held in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, May 18 – 20, 2015.  Over 280 papers were submitted and are undergoing the review process.  Don’t miss this opportunity to gain knowledge from adjacent scientific fields and acknowledge the new developments and research in creating healthy buildings.


Indoor Air 2014 Keynote Lecture Articles Published in the Indoor Air journal

A special issue of Indoor Air is under development for publication in early 2016.  This issue will feature articles developed from the keynote lectures presented at Indoor Air 2014.  The key guidance that the editors provided to authors is summarized here:

a. Think about the multidisciplinary research community concerned about indoor environmental quality and health as your primary readership.
b. Aim to cover the topic from a conceptually strong perspective.
c. In addition to summarizing what is known about your subject, also highlight the research challenges and opportunities for further progress.
d. Papers can either take a more tutorial approach or present a more advanced treatment of the topic.

The first six articles for this special issue are now available in prepublication form on the Indoor Air website.  Look for them in the Accepted Articles and Early View queues.  Here are the titles and authors.

• Very volatile organic compounds: An understudied class of indoor air pollutants (Tunga Salthammer)
• Indoor bioaerosol dynamics (William Nazaroff)
• Thermal comfort in air-conditioned buildings in hot and humid climates — Why are we not getting it right? (S Chandra Sekhar)
Roles of the human occupant in indoor chemistry (Charles Weschler)
Field measurement of ventilation rates (Andrew Persily)
Primary and secondary consequences of indoor air cleaners (Jeffrey Siegel)
(Members be sure to log into the ISIAQ web site prior to clicking on links for full Journal access.)

Several other articles are in stages of review and revision.  These will be posted to the same queues as they are accepted over the next several months.


Indoor Air 2014 Keynote Lectures Published in Indoor Air journal

You can access these papers through your ISIAQ Membership. Login to the ISIAQ web site, then click on the Journal icon.
C. J. Weschler - Roles of the human occupant in indoor chemistry (early view article)
Abstract  Over the last decade, influences of the human occupant on indoor chemistry have been investigated in environments ranging from simulated aircraft cabins to actual classrooms. We have learned that ozone reacts rapidly with constituents of skin surface lipids on exposed skin, hair, and clothing, substantially reducing indoor ozone concentrations but increasing airborne levels of mono- and bifunctional compounds that contain carbonyl, carboxyl, or α-hydroxy ketone groups. Moreover, occupants transfer skin oils to and shed skin flakes (desquamation) onto indoor surfaces. Evidence for the presence of skin flakes/oils has been found in airborne particles, settled dust, and wipes of indoor surfaces. These occupant residues are also anticipated to scavenge ozone and produce byproducts. Under typical conditions, occupancy is anticipated to decrease the net level of oxidants in indoor air. When occupants scavenge ozone, the level of SOA derived from ozone/terpene chemistry decreases; the fraction of SVOCs in the gas-phase increases, and the fraction associated with airborne particles decreases. Occupants also remove organic compounds, including certain chemically active species, via bodily intake. Studies reviewed in this paper demonstrate the pronounced influences of humans on chemistry within the spaces they inhabit and the consequences of these influences on their subsequent chemical exposures.
Practical Implications  For practical and sometimes ethical reasons, experiments probing indoor chemistry have often been conducted in unoccupied simulated or actual indoor environments. However, this can result in findings that may differ substantially from those that would be obtained in an occupied setting. Going forward, when conducting investigations of chemical transformations that occur in human habitats, it is important to be mindful of the potential role of the occupant and to design experiments accordingly.
Jeffrey Siegel - Primary and Secondary Consequences of Indoor Air Cleaners (accepted article)
Abstract  Air cleaning is broadly applied to reduce contaminant concentrations in many buildings. Although diverse in underlying technology, mode of application, target contaminants, and effectiveness, there are also commonalities in the framework for understanding their primary impact (i.e., concentration reductions) and secondary impacts (e.g., energy use, byproduct production). Furthermore, both primary and secondary impacts are moderated by the specific indoor context in which an air cleaner is used. This paper explores the dynamics of removal efficiency in a variety of air cleaners and combines efficiency and flow rate to put air cleaning in the context of real indoor environments. This allows for the direct comparison to other indoor pollutant loss mechanisms (ventilation and deposition) and further suggests that effective air cleaner use is context- and contaminant-specific. The concentration reduction impacts of air cleaning need to be contrasted with the secondary consequences that arise from the use of air cleaners. This paper emphasizes two important secondary consequences: energy use of the air cleaning process and primary and secondary emissions from air cleaners. The paper also identifies current research challenges and areas for large leaps in our understanding of the role of air cleaners in improving indoor environmental quality.
Practical Implications  Effective use of air cleaners requires consider ably more knowledge than simply a static contaminant removal efficiency. Removal efficiencies for many air cleaners are dynamic and the removal efficiency needs to be put in the context of the system in which the air cleaner is used and the environment in which the air cleaner is deployed. The impacts of an air cleaner are not limited to contaminant removal: important secondary impacts include energy use associated with an air cleaner and byproduct emission.
Andrew Persily - Field Measurement of Ventilation Rates  (accepted article)
Abstract  Ventilation rates have significant impacts on building energy use and indoor contaminant concentrations, making them key parameters in evaluating building performance. Ventilation rates have been measured in buildings for many decades and there are mature measurement approaches available to researchers and others who need to know actual ventilation rates in buildings. Despite the fact that ventilation rates are critical in interpreting indoor concentration measurements, it is disconcerting how few indoor air quality (IAQ) field studies measure ventilation rates or otherwise characterize the ventilation design of the study building(s). This paper summarizes parameters of interest in characterizing building ventilation, available methods for quantifying these parameters, and challenges in applying these methods to different types of buildings and ventilation systems. These parameters include whole building air change rates, system outdoor air intake rates and building infiltration rates. Tracer gas methods are reviewed as well as system airflow rate measurements using, for example, duct traverses. Several field studies of ventilation rates conducted over the past 75 years are described to highlight the approaches employed and the findings obtained.
Practical Implications  The measurement of ventilation rates is important for understanding building performance in terms of energy consumption and indoor air quality. Nevertheless, the need to measure ventilation is not always r ecognized and the measurements that are made are not always performed with an understanding of the underlying methods. This paper reviews well - established methods for measuring ventilation in the field that have existed for decades and summarizes a number of studies that ha ve provided useful insights into building ventilation . The work presented in this paper will contribute to improving both measurement protocols and interpretation of reported measurement results.

New Research: Environmental Sensing by Wearable Device for Indoor Activity and Location Estimation

By Jin, Ming Zou, Han Weekly, Kevin Jia, Ruoxi Bayen, Alexandre Spanos, Costas J Spanos
We present results from a set of experiments in this pilot study to investigate the causal influence of user activity on various environmental parameters monitored by occupant carried multipurpose sensors. Hypotheses with respect to each type of measurements are verified, including temperature, humidity, and light level collected during eight typical activities: sitting in lab / cubicle, indoor walking / running, resting after physical activity, climbing stairs, taking elevators, and outdoor walking. Our main contribution is the development of features for activity and location recognition based on environmental measurements, which exploit location- and activity specific characteristics and capture the trends resulted from the underlying physiological process. The features are statistically shown to have good separability and are also information rich. Fusing environmental sensing together with acceleration is shown to achieve classification accuracy as high as 99.13%. For building applications, this study motivates a sensor fusion paradigm for learning individualized activity, location, and environmental preferences for energy management and user comfort.
Download the full article at


With more than 800 members from more than 45 countries, ISIAQ is an international, independent, multidisciplinary, scientific, non-profit organization whose purpose is to support the creation of healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environments. We strongly believe this is achievable by advancing the science and technology of indoor air quality and climate as it relates to indoor environmental design, construction, operation and maintenance, air quality measurement and health sciences.

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ISIAQ - March 2015