By Diana Bjornskov

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) ― an umbrella phrase covering a multitude of coexisting and interrelated issues: healthy people-focused environment; well-designed and managed building systems; adequate clean, dry ventilation; chemical and biological filtration; affordable, thermally stable heating and cooling; energy efficiency ... and the effects of climate change and CO2 emissions.

As featured in this issue’s Checklist article “Indoor Air Quality vs. Energy: A False Choice – Take the Long View with Integrated Solutions[DB1],” balancing the integrated problems beyond the pandemic forces us to create integrated solutions. In other words, along with airborne pathogens,IAQ is transforming the world as we also condition air to cool the warming temperatures.

Where can commissioning providers obtain current systems and technical knowledge necessary to stay up to date with increasingly specialized IAQ? The BCxA Annual Conference in September will present a separate track featuring IAQ commissioning. Here, also, is an extensive list of resources from BCxA and external sites to help navigate Cx-related information.

BCxA IAQ Publications and Resources

The Checklist: 

Up in the Air – OCx and COVID-19

Member Spotlight: Christopher Pell

Clearing the Air for Owners – Reopening: A Critical Cx Skill Set

What Your BCxA Leaders Are Talking About: 2022 Leadership Summit, Indoor Air Quality: Lasting change or short-term trend? BCxA leaders discuss and opine on how the pandemic will change how we all think about it.

K-12 Back-to-School Strategies: Nationwide Funding Opportunities

Healthy Office Buildings – HPIs and the Hierarchy of Controls

The Commissioning Rx for Healthy Buildings- CxPs: Guardians of the OPR, by Alan Scott, FAIA, co-author of our concurrent Checklist article, “Indoor Air Quality vs. Energy: A False Choice – Take the Long View with Integrated Solutions[DB2].”

BCxA University Resources

Commissioning Provider Curriculum Online Course – description of all modules.

Commissioning Provider Certificate Program Class by class curriculum for full program or a la carte choices.

BCxA Web Resources

Commissioning samples and templates

Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan Checklist

BCxA YouTube Resources

Dr. Kevin Van den Wymelenberg’s Opening BCxA Conference presentation on the microbiomes surrounding us, aerosolized pathogens in hospital and other room spaces, and mechanically vs. naturally ventilated spaces (begin after Minute 33 of Opening Plenary).

External Resources


ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2019, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. The standard now defers to ANSI Z9.5-2022on ventilation for laboratories handling hazardous materials. Patient care spaces in the scope of ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170 now follow the requirements of Standard 170 amended in 2020; ancillary spaces not previously classified have been added.

Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design,Construction and Commissioning. Developed in cooperation among ASHRAE, AIA, USGBC, BOMA International, SMACNA, and the U.S. EPA. Designed for designers, contractors, commissioning providers, and all professionals concerned with indoor air quality. It’s free and information is useful but not current, published in 2010.

ASHRAE Standard 52.2-2017 -- Method of Testing General Ventilation Air-Cleaning Devices for Removal Efficiency by Particle Size (ANSI Approved); updates and amendments up to 2020. Changes to the 2017 edition include modifications to the MERV table to adjust the threshold for specific MERVs and allow for the 16 graduations to be more observable in testing.


Maintaining Acceptable Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) During Construction and Renovation Projects pdf icon [PDF – 644 KB]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2020‒110.

CDC Checklist for IAQ assessment and/or planning. Focused on schools, but applicable for all buildings.

CECP Workplace Safety and Health Topics. Indoor Environmental Quality page with links.

World Health Organization Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality are targeted at those who are involved in preventing health risks of environmental exposures, as well as specialists and authorities involved in the design and use of buildings, indoor materials and products. They provide a scientific basis for legally enforceable standards.

National Institute of Building Sciences Whole Building Design Guide The NIBS WBDG website is currently revising and updating its indoor air quality page. Facilities Standards for The Public Buildings Service, published in October 2021, establishes standards and criteria for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) owned inventory and lease construction facilities that the Government intends to own or has an option to purchase. This document contains both performance-based standards and prescriptive requirements to be used in the programming, design, and documentation of GSA buildings. P100 is a mandatory standard.


LEED v4.1 indoor air quality certification requirements:

1.       Existing buildings pursuing certification under LEED v4.1 must meet the Minimum Indoor Air Quality requirement, which is intended to benefit occupants and establish minimum standards for indoor air quality. Projects must maintain ventilation system equipment and components while also following requirements outlined for mechanically and naturally ventilated spaces.

2.       The second indoor air quality requirement is described in the Indoor Environmental Quality Performance credit. The intent is to assess how well the building is performing for occupants, especially with regard to indoor air quality and comfort. Projects receive points based on the results from the CO2 and TVOC measurements.

LEED Health Process Guides

1.       LEED Health Process: Monitoring Outcomes Guide contains recommendations for developing a monitoring and evaluation plan for building construction or renovation project. This guidance tool is designed to help the project team create a draft plan to measure and observe the impact that their project health, well-being, and equity strategies have on the occupants and community throughout the project life cycle (design, construction, and operation). Published: June 24, 2022.

2.      LEED Health Process: Project Owner Workshops Guide provides guidance on facilitating health promotion workshops within the LEED Health Process. Workshops create a platform for interdisciplinary conversations between the project owner and design team to discuss health promotion through building design, construction and operation. Published: June 24, 2022.

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA has produced numerous publications on the subject of indoor air quality including regional data, action plans, issues for buildings by type, fact sheets, project and contractor reports, and more.

Action-Focused Industry Technical Papers

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Built Environment Considerations To Reduce Transmission. The collaborating authors in this American Society for Microbiology (ASM) paper synthesize the microbiology of built environment (BE) research and the known information about COVID to provide actionable and achievable guidance to decision-makers, building operators, and all indoor occupants attempting to minimize infectious disease transmission through environmentally mediated pathways.

IAQ and IEQ – By Whose Authority? The Engineered Systems article’s author discusses the obligations of design professionals, commissioning and TAB providers, and owners, as well as risks and compliance requirements related to IAQ/IEQ and other issues for design-build projects. “…much can be said regarding commissioning and testing and balancing (TAB). Suffice it to say that both matter. The best engineering design intent, products, installation, and construction won’t matter if the building’s HVAC system and all systems in the building are not functioning together in accordance with the integrated design intent.”