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(Keynote/Workshop Day - Tuesday, April 12, 2016)

Click HERE for the Workshop Rotation Schedule (not yet available)

The 2016 Conference features more than a dozen workshops to help you and your business create healthy, sustainable indoor spaces.  We have sessions on building science, energy efficiency, investigations, sampling, design and construction, facility operations and management, IAQ and health, risk management, ventilation, marketing, and project management.  No matter how your work connects you to the indoor environment, there is a workshop (or two, or three, or more!) here for you.

This is a preliminary workshop listing (check back later for additional workshop summaries)

Workshop Summaries in Alphabetical Order

Assessment and Mitigation of Misapplied Spray Foam

Presented by:  Ed Light, CIH - Building Dynamics, LLC, Ashton, MD

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation may fail to cure if misapplied, resulting in ongoing odor and health concerns. This presentation will summarize the limited data available on this issue, and discuss site assessment and remediation.

Balanced Residential Ventilation

Presented by Kurt Johnson, Fresh Air Ventilation, Inc. - Lewiston, ME

This session will provide attendees with a complete summary explanation of balanced residential ventilation systems, from concept and design to installation in both in new and existing homes.  Kurt will also provide data on the actual energy consumption of balanced systems.  

Commissioning Checklist for HRVs and ERVs

Presented by:  Mark Blake, Structuremetrics - Winthrop, ME and Kurt Johnson, Fresh Air Ventilation, Inc. - Lewiston, ME

This session will present a draft commissionin checklist for residential ventilation systems, so that residential building professionals, as well as those evaluating/inspecting existing systems can be sure that systems are installed and working properly. 

Emerging Environmental Pathogens Affecting the Indoor Environment

Presented by:  Diane Miskowski, MPH, National Legionella Program Manager - EMSL, Cinnaminson, NJ

This session provides an overview of common and newly discovered bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic pathogens in water, soil which cause infections in individuals and building and hospital occupants.  Descriptions of sampling methods will be discussed as well as newer genomic analytical methods such as Polymerase Chain Reaction PCR), DNA sequencing and whole genomic sequencing.

Energy Savings and Environmental Control in a Historic Museum: A Building Science Case Study

Presented by:  Steven Caulfield PE, CIH - Turner Building Science & Design, Harrison, ME

A historic museum, built in the early 1900s, experienced escalating energy bills and humidity control issues threatening the condition of their valuable collection. The presentation will highlight the envelope, mechanical, and control installations that vastly improved conditions in the building, while saving energy and maintaining historical elements of the building itself.

Heat Pumps in Cold Climates – Getting the Most from the Right Equipment

Speaker: Robb Aldrich


Even in cold climates, air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a booming business. ASHPs use electricity to move heat from outdoors to indoors (during the winter) and provide cooling in the summer (basically operating in reverse). In the southern U.S., ASHPs have been used for decades, but a wide range of new products promise good cold-climate performance. These systems (including many ductless heat pumps) are becoming increasingly popular all across the country – including in Northern New England. Heat pumps often appeal to health advocates and environmentalists because there are no fuels or combustion on site, but how efficient are these systems? Do they really perform in cold climates?

This session will begin with some basic terminology and descriptions of how ASHPs operate. With this foundation, the session will present findings from detailed evaluations of several ductless heat pumps in homes around the New England. Overall, ASHPs did provide the promised heat output at low temperatures, but efficiencies were generally lower than expected. More importantly, the study identified several likely reasons heat pumps were less efficient than expected.

The presenter has also been involved in the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships’ (NEEP’s) committee for identifying performance criteria for ASHPs that are appropriate for cold climates. The session will include a description of this useful resource, and it will include additional best practices for selecting, installing, and operating ASHPs in New England homes. Finally, the session will compare likely heat pump operating costs to costs of more conventional systems (such as oil, propane, electric resistance, or natural gas systems).

Intended Audience

This session may be useful to anyone interested in new air-source heat pumps. The session will begin with enough basics that interested homeowners should find it useful, but it is intended more for building professionals: builders, designers, developers, building owners, building managers, engineers, HVAC contractors, etc.

By attending this session, participants with learn…

…how well air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) provide heat in very cold weather (near or below 0°F).

…how efficient ASHPs are when providing heating in cold climates.

…key criteria (equipment specs, sizing, installation, and operation factors) that can result in higher ASHP efficiencies.

…how to investigate equipment ratings, manufacturer literature, and other resources to select the best equipment for a particular New England application

High-Performance, Passive Buildings: Comfort and Indoor Air Quality in Airtight Construction

Presenter:  Alan Gibson, G O Logic Architecture and Construction - Belfast, ME

Homes built to code-compliant construction standards suffer from a variety of ills in a cold climate like Maine’s. High energy bills, draftiness, and poor indoor air quality to name a few. Fortunately, there are alternatives today that can greatly improve all aspects of home performance. One such methodology, known as passivhaus, is based on a German standard for energy use in buildings--the most stringent in the world. Passivhaus (or passive house) buildings use a fraction of the heating, cooling, and household energy that code buildings do, and the benefits are clear and compelling: passive homes are more resilient, durable, and comfortable to live in while saving up to 90% on heating fuel.

This session will explain the theory and practice of passive building with the region’s most experienced passive home design and building company. G O Logic LLC built the state’s first certified passive house in 2010 and has completed over 65 passive buildings since then, including a 36-unit ecovillage community in Belfast, a 10-person residence hall on the campus of Unity College (the first certified passive dormitory in the country) as well as the first certified science laboratory in North America. Builder Alan Gibson is a partner in G O Logic, along with architect Matthew O’Malia. Alan will bring his knowledge and expertise in high-performance building to this session to present these learning objectives:

1. Participants will learn the key elements of the passive house standard and how they relate to cold climate performance in residential buildings.

2. Participants will learn design concepts and building methods required to achieve the passive standard, including super-insulated and air-tight building assemblies, high-performance windows and doors, and appropriate mechanicals.

3. Participants will learn appropriate ventilation strategies to achieve high indoor air quality within an air-tight envelope.

This presentation is designed as an overview and primer on passive house design and construction. It is best suited to individuals who have experience with building design and energy use standards at an intermediate level. Information will be based on the passive house standard, ASHRAE ventilation standards, research data, and the presenter’s own real-world experience.

The IAQ Marketing Challenge: Winning Business When the Customer Doesn’t Know They Need You


Presenter:  Peter Troast, Founder & CEO, Energy Circle - Yarmouth, ME

While whole house retrofits are very often the ideal solution to all kinds of indoor air quality problems, energy auditors and home performance contractors are rarely the first call for homeowners acting on these issues. To the typical customer and the people who influence them (such as doctors), we're not yet the obvious solution. And that frames the challenge of marketing both indoor air quality diagnostic and retrofit services. We’ll directly address this marketing challenge, and identify tactics and approaches to overcome the lack of understanding and awareness of most homeowners to the root causes of poor indoor air.

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand the different drivers of homeowner concerns about indoor air quality

2. Learn keywords and concepts that will help direct your messaging

3. Identify specific marketing initiatives that can position your company for this opportunity and grow your IAQ related leads

4.Hear about what is working for contractors out there who are successfully marketing indoor air quality.

Legionella in Building Water Systems

Presented by:  Jack Springston, CIH, CSP, FAIHA -  TRC Environmental Solutions, New York, NY

Legionnaires’ disease (LD) was first recognized in 1976 following an outbreak of pneumonia among delegates at the American Legion annual convention held in the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. Since that outbreak where 221 persons became ill and 34 died the annual number of cases has continued to rise. In response to an ever increasing number of reported cases and no clear framework for proactive assessment and monitoring of building water systems for Legionella, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) developed a guideline for the Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella Hazards in Building Water systems. This guidance updates and expands upon information previously used to conduct environmental source assessments for Legionella during outbreak investigations. It also provides a framework for competent professionals to establish a proactive assessment strategy of hazard assessment and longitudinal monitoring of building water systems and other potential sources of Legionella amplification. This guidance, which focuses on source assessment and determining the effectiveness of control measures, is intended to provide an outline for professionals to develop evaluation and assessment strategies for Legionella. In many ways the AIHA Guideline picks up where other guidelines and standards leave off. Filling the gap between institutional or facility-wide objectives to reduce Legionella risk and implementation of an effective control strategy, the AIHA guideline provides a road map for professionals to develop and execute a site-specific assessment plan.

This presentation is designed for a basic level audience and is geared towards industrial hygienists and individuals interested in learning about how to evaluate and control Legionella in building water systems. Others who may benefit from attending the presentation include architects, engineers and building managers who have to deal with Legionella issues. Source material for the presentation includes over 27 years of professional experience as an industrial hygienist, as well as a variety of publications including:

  • AIHA (2005), “Field Guide for the Determination of Biological Contaminants in Environmental Samples”.
  • AIHA (2015), “Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella in Building Water Systems”.

Mold and Radon Resistance through Generous Ventilation.

Douglas Steege, VP Business Development, RenewAire LLC

Yes airtight building construction improves comfort and saves lots of energy in the harsh Maine climate.  Unfortunately low air exchange rates can allow the accumulation of excessive levels of humidity, radon and other indoor air pollutants.  Learn how generous amounts of fresh air,  using energy recovery ventilation, can maintain high levels of energy efficiency while exhausting and diluting the buildup of gases that can significantly impact occupant  health and property values.


The Tale of Two Sisters: A Case Study of Traditional v. NetZero Construction

Presented by: Mat Ward, Architect -  WBRC Architects & Engineers, Bangor ME;
Andrew Rudnicki, Mechanical Engineer - WBRC Architects & Engineers, Bangor, ME;
Brian Bowman, Co-Owner and Vice President, Bowman Constructors, Newport, ME

In 2014, Goose River Apartments in Belfast opened for Maine seniors. At first glance, the project appears to be virtually identical to another project, North View Apartments in Dover Foxcroft. However, Goose River was designed with traditional energy systems and envelope, while North View was designed to perform near or at net zero energy. This session will compare and contrast the differences between these two sister properties, with emphasis on energy performance and IAQ in each.



Off-gassing of New VOCs and Old PCBs – Comparison and a Contrast

Presenter:  David Sullivan, TRC Environmental Corporation - Lowell, MA

This presentation compares and contrasts volatile organic compound (VOC) off gassing to indoor air in a newly constructed middle school building with the delayed off-gassing (desorption) of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) originating from high concentration PCB sources abated over time from classrooms in a 40+ year old high school building.
With VOCs, new building materials off-gassing can raise a host of issues with building occupants with complaints about strong odors, adverse physiological responses, aggravation of medical conditions, and concerns about the ‘health’ of the building environment. The data presented should provide builders, designers, and facility managers some expectations for the potential duration of measurable impacts from VOC off-gassing to indoor air following the completion of construction.

In the PCB case, the expectations borne out by the global atmospheric transport behavior of PCBs are realized at the small scale in enclosed spaces with wide varieties of sorption surfaces. Whereas in the global atmospheric transport scenario PCBs move in grasshopper patterns; for example, volatilizing from soil to air in warm weather and adsorbing to materials miles away as temperatures cool. At the building scale, volatilization from source materials (e.g., leaking ballasts, paint, caulk, etc.) and desorption on to other building materials (e.g., polyurethane foam cushions, carpets, etc.), and eventual escape to outdoor air through the ventilation system, takes place. This has led some to opine that indoor air is a relevant source of PCBs to outdoor air as evidenced by the generally higher ambient air concentrations of PCBs in urban centers. However, what the data show is that in a post-abatement scenario, indoor air concentrations of PCBs require extended periods of time to drop below action levels and yield an acceptable remedial outcome. In this presentation, we will focus on several classrooms where the initial PCB building materials abatement did not have the desired effect on indoor air concentrations, so more action and time was necessary to achieve the desired levels.

This presentation is designed for an intermediate level audience and is geared towards consulting professionals interested in ‘real-world’ data illustrating indoor air quality phenomena critical to setting appropriate expectations in the public/private consulting sphere. Others who may benefit from attending the presentation include architects, engineers and building managers who have to deal with VOC off-gassing issues and PCB abatement activities, and potentially impacted building occupants. Source material for the presentation is field and laboratory data collected using United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methodologies.



Presenter:  Jeff May, May Indoor Air Investigations, LLC - Tyngsborough, MA

This presentation will examine sources of indoor bioaerosol, including some that are surprisingly simple to find, such as microbial growth in refrigerator drip trays and others that are more obscure: mold in insulation; bird bloom from feather-filled bedding; actinomycetes from foundations; allergenic fecal material from microarthropods; respirable wool dander from carpets; allergenic bioaerosol from laundry lint; surrogate allergens.

Learning Objectives:  

            To understand the large variety of potential allergen sources

            To understand the possible presence of surrogate allergens

            To understand the importance of source sampling

            To be cognizant of particle exposures of home occupants to from spray-foam particles

Presentation format:   Individual session, 1 speaker

Presentation method:  Lecture, case study

Presentation level:      Intermediate to advanced


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