Setting the Record Straight
Indoor Air Quality and Indoor Comfort Quality -
differentiated but integrated under the definition of
indoor environmental quality (see
ASHRAE Guideline 10P, Interactions Affecting the
Achievement of Acceptable Indoor Environments).
Industry and consumers alike mistakenly
take indoor air quality and indoor comfort quality
as the same thing. However, one can be uncomfortable
whilst breathing fresh air (think sitting on a ski
chairlift at -20 deg F) and one can be breathing bad air while being comfortable
(think inhaling carbon monoxide or radon whilst watching
a movie in your home theatre).
Indoor Air Quality and Indoor Comfort Quality are in fact two separate and distinct topics though both contribute to
indoor environmental quality
(see proposed ASHRAE Guideline 10, Interactions
Affecting the Achievement of Acceptable Indoor
Environments). The American
Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers publish industry standards for building professionals. For indoor air quality in low-rise residential
and high-rise buildings, the documents are ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2
and 62.1 respectively; and for thermal environments, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55, Thermal Environmental Conditions for
Each standard explicitly states that one is not about the other.
This is congruent with our own body systems where
thermal comfort is sensed predominately through our skin
whereas air quality is predominately a function of our
respiratory and internal responses to inhaled elements.
In building surveys where satisfaction with
IEQ is high, one often finds mechanical systems that
employ radiant based HVAC for thermal comfort quality
dedicated outdoor air systems for air quality. An
example of such a system is featured at our page, "The
Total Comfort System - The "Un-minimum" System".
Discuss this online.