Envelope and IAQ Testing
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ), often called sick building syndrome, is often the result of moisture in the building envelope, off-gassing of building materials, and the poor design and maintenance of mechanical systems. These problems can be eliminated by better building design and maintenance. Good building design can create a superior indoor environment that reduces occupant absenteeism and sickness, and improves worker productivity
Enermodal uses a combination of computer simulation, site inspections, and physical testing to identify potential IAQ problems and to develop effective solutions. Enermodal advises clients on proper envelope design to avoid condensation and build-up of moisture. The FRAMEplus software predicts interior window, curtain wall and framed wall temperatures. This software performs two-dimensional heat transfer and fluid flow analysis to identify potential locations of condensation occurrence. The WUFI program calculates transient moisture flow in building assemblies over a full year to assess the suitability of designs to deal with interior and exterior moisture flows.
Building envelope problems are often caused by poor workmanship. Enermodal uses blower door testing to assess the airtightness of the envelope and to identify air leakage locations. Blower door testing can be performed during construction as part of envelope commissioning or on existing buildings as part of an energy audit. Recently, Enermodal performed blower door testing to measure the air flow rate required to maintain adequate building pressurization within a hospital.Finally, Enermodal performs short and long term testing of common indoor air pollutants (e.g., radon, formaldehyde and VOCs) to assess the quality of the indoor environment. These tests can also be part of LEED certification for Construction IAQ. For the 77 Governor’s Road Condominium project (PDF), tracer gas testing was used to assess air transfer between the parking garage and the suites and the quality of air mixing within the suites by the air handling system.