July 2015
Indoor Environmental News
LEED IEQ Certification Services in Texas & the Gulf Coast 
Across Texas and the Gulf Coast, a growing number of building owners and management companies have recognized the benefits of obtaining the USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for their properties.  To obtain this coveted status, there are a number of credit categories where points can be earned towards certification.

 

One major category for LEED certification is indoor environmental quality credits.  One of the foremost LEED consulting firms in the region that specializes in helping those in search of certification achieve seamless compliance with these requirements is Indoor Environmental Consultants. 

 

"Two specific areas that IEC is frequently called upon to assist with during new construction activities include IEQ Credit 3.1 and 3.2," said Hollis L. Horner, a LEED Accredited Professional and President of Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.  "In order to comply with IEQ Credit 3.1: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan - During Construction, an indoor air quality management plan must be developed and implemented for the construction and pre-occupancy phases of the building.  To earn IEQ Credit 3.2: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan-Before Occupancy, two options are available: (1) a building-wide  flush-out of specified duration and volume of air, or (2) indoor air quality testing for carbon monoxide, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), formaldehyde, and total particulates conducted after all finishes have been installed and before the building is occupied."

 

IEC also offers Indoor Environmental Quality Services for LEED 2009 Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) , including:

  • Credit 1.1 - Indoor Air Quality Management Program
  • Credit 1.2 - Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring
  • Credit 1.3 - Increased Ventilation
  • Credit 1.4 - Reduce Particulates in Air Distribution
  • Credit 1.5 - Indoor Air Quality Management for Facility Alterations and Additions

 

To learn more about IEC's LEED certification compliance consulting services or other indoor air quality services, 
  please visit www.iecinc.net , email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.

 

 

Hurricane Season Advice for Gulf Coast Residents

Last month, Tropical Storm Bill made landfall and brought more rain to an already soaked Texas. It was a reminder that hurricane season in the United States had begun and won't be officially over until November 30th.  People who live in Texas and along the Gulf Coast are at risk this time of year for experiencing the damaging effects of hurricanes and tropical storms.

 

As recently as 2008 Hurricane Ike caused over $19 billion in damages in Texas alone.  One of the best ways to prepare a property for hurricane season is to ensure that all the roof connections are up to code.  Adding hurricane panels to protect windows and door openings can also help prevent damage. 

 

Strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding create much of the destruction to property from these storms.  For those living close to the coast, storm surge is also a major concern.  Even with the best preparations, a powerful hurricane can destroy or cause extensive property damage.  Fortunately, many properties do survive the initial hurricane, but are left with slight to severe damages.  Many of these properties can be rebuilt, but there are potential indoor environmental hazards people need to be aware of before they begin demolition and repair activities.  These may include the following: 

  • Mold can begin to grow in as short as 24 to 48 hours on many types of wet building materials and household belongings.  It's important to begin drying materials as soon as it is safe to do so.  Some non-porous materials can be cleaned and salvaged, but most porous materials should be discarded if mold growth is present.  Also be aware that improperly removing moldy materials can cause the mold spores to become aerosolized and spread throughout a property. 
  • Flood waters can bring sewage, bacteria, viruses, mold, and chemicals into a property. 
  • Asbestos is still present in many materials found in older properties.  When removing debris or rebuilding a property, these asbestos fibers can become aerosolized.  Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. 
  • Lead is also a concern because it is a highly toxic metal which produces a range of adverse health effects, particularly in young children. Disturbance or removal of materials containing lead-based paint in older properties may result in exposure risks. 

For Texas and Gulf Coast residents who suffer property damage due to a hurricane, tropical storm, or other event, IEC has environmental and building science experts ready to respond at a moment's notice.  IEC offers services that include testing, inspecting, and consulting to identify a wide range of indoor hazards following a natural disaster to protect current and future building occupants.

 

To learn more about this or other indoor air quality (IAQ) testing and consulting services,  please visit www.iecinc.net , email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.

 

 

Identifying Surface and Wot Rot Fungi in Residential & Commercial Structures 

 

Wood continues to be one of the most commonly used building materials in Texas and across the Gulf Coast.  When properly maintained and protected from moisture, structures made from wood can last for centuries. 

 

Termites and wood destroying insects have long been blamed for the destruction of wood used in buildings, but they are not the only culprits.  Wood also makes for an ideal food source for many types of fungi. Fungi, commonly referred to as mold, can quickly begin to grow on or in wood materials when there is sufficient moisture and temperatures that support growth. 

 

Some types of mold are primarily found growing on the surface of wood.  This is often the case after there has been a water damage event caused by a leaking pipe, elevated humidity or some type of flood. The mold may be clearly visible when it is on the surface of the wood and may become aerosolized and cause indoor air quality (IAQ) and health concerns for building occupants.

 

Other types of fungi not only use the wood as a food source, but also cause decay by breaking down wood fibers. Some species will attack living trees and others will consume cut wood that has been used to construct buildings.  These wood decay fungi are classified based on the type of decay they cause and the most well-known types include brown rot, white rot, and soft rot. Wood decay fungi can cause extensive structural damage over time.  Visible signs of its presence can take a trained professional to identify, but it is important to catch any growth early to prevent potentially dangerous situations and costly repairs. 

 

The building science experts at Indoor Environmental Consultants offer inspection and testing services for mold growth in buildings and to identify moisture problems that could cause future issues.  To learn more about IEC's mold, moisture and indoor air quality (IAQ) services,    please visit www.iecinc.net , email ncancino@iecinc.net  or call (877) 432-8378.