Milestones in 2015 – Year in Review

Technical Milestones in 2015 – Year in Review

For building owners and operators, 2015 was a lively year for environmental issues, and the coming year promises to be no different. Here is a quick summary of some of the major developments that impacted our industry in 2015.

IAQ and Productivity Connection

A game changing study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, SUNY Upstate Medical University, and Syracuse University confirmed the relationship between indoor air quality (IAQ) and productivity. Published in October 2015, the study found significant improvements in cognitive function when sources of VOCs were eliminated, ventilation was raised, and CO2 levels were lowered. In particular, there were major improvements in crisis response, information usage, and strategizing (see the below graph). All functions required of highly paid team members in business settings. This landmark study builds on two decades of studies linking IAQ and productivity.

The jury is in – there is a confirmed relationship between good IAQ and human performance. Occupants are by far the most expensive component in any building, and investments in IAQ are simply the fastest and most reliable route to economic efficiency for building users. With new WELL Building Standards, greater priority to IAQ in LEED V4, and new research, 2016 is sure to be the year for IAQ. Learn more about starting a proactive IAQ plan.


Cognitive function scores were much higher in Green+ building conditions compared to the Conventional building conditions for all nine functional categories. Environ Health Perspect DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1510037

Water Conservation

From coast to coast, water conservation is capturing the attention of the public, politicians, and the media. In California, rainfall is diminishing. Water conservation in the Golden State and other parts of the country is slated to become a chronic issue for water utilities. The problem is not just the weather, but the unprepared state of water infrastructure in many jurisdictions. Nationwide, many jurisdictions suffer from aging infrastructure, stormwater runoff, and combined sewer wtr1overflow issues. Fairly or unfairly (probably the latter), much of the pressure for these problems are being applied to building operators, who are being required to find the last drop of savings from their toilets, taps, utility systems and landscaping systems. Healthy Buildings conducts water audits and implements water conservation measures for building owners to find ROI and report to their stake holders that every stone has been upturned in the race to save water.

Legionella Compliance

Legionnaires Disease made headlines this year. In addition, a new ASHRAE Standard, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, was published in the summer of 2015. ASHRAE Standard 188 was developed by a multidisciplinary team of industry experts requiring that those lg6responsible for the buildings’ water systems implement stronger Legionella safeguards through proactive risk assessment and risk management practices. Building water system components covered by Standard 188 include: potable water systems, cooling towers & evaporative condensers, whirlpool spas, decorative fountains, and aerosol-generating air coolers, humidifiers, and washers. Similar to the well-known ASHRAE Ventilation Standard 62, ASHRAE 188 is expected to be the basis of future building codes and regulations, as well as the de facto legal standard of care for Legionella control and prevention. Contact Healthy Buildings for guidance on compliance and verification.
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By | 2019-04-05T13:17:57+00:00 January 13th, 2016|Blog, Environmental Quality, News & Announcements|Comments Off on Milestones in 2015 – Year in Review

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