Improving ASHRAE – How Sendal defines IAQ

September 7, 2023

Allison Bailes III, Phd.  got me thinking about ASHRAE 62.2's role in our industry. His recent post questioned the basic definition of indoor air quality from the standard. The responses from industry experts caused me to pause to take a historical view of how we got to our working definition of air quality.

ASHRAE 62.2 traces its roots back to the 1800s when air quality was assessed using our noses. This led to research establishing minimum airflow rates to control odors as a key strategy for preventing airborne diseases. However, depending solely on our sense of smell has limitations, as highlighted by the ongoing struggles posed by COVID-19.

Today, ventilation science continues to advance, focusing on eliminating bioeffluents, odors, moisture, and contaminants generated by occupants. Basic CO2 sensors have been employed to include sensory input in ventilation strategies, known as demand control ventilation. While effective for specific IAQ concerns, this approach must expand beyond CO2 and tackle particulate matter (PM) issues. Increased ventilation to address CO2 levels can exacerbate PM problems and hinder energy efficiency.

Extensive research has pinpointed that key indoor contaminants result from activities within the home—cooking, bathing, vacuuming, and more—contributing to subpar air quality. Enter Sendal's Breathe service, a forward-looking solution that anticipates these factors and adapts ventilation and filtration accordingly. Collaborating with Airthings IAQ sensors, Breathe leverages comprehensive demand control through data, including CO2, PM, VOCs, and Radon. The service combines data-driven demand control with predictive responses based on machine learning to optimize ventilation and filtration.

The results speak for themselves: reduced ventilation runtime, improved IAQ, and a significant drop in heating and cooling costs. In a recent Sendal Breathe service field study, we achieved a remarkable 12% reduction in home energy consumption.

Predictive IAQ is more than just comfort and odors; it's about creating energy-efficient, sustainable, and healthier home environments. We must collectively think beyond ventilation and filtration towards responsive, meaningful user feedback and awareness of one of our most vital core sustenance- breathable air.

I invite your insights and contributions to this vital discussion. Let's collaboratively shape healthier indoor environments for all to help inform the future of ASHRAE 62.2.