Indoor Air Resources

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Get Guidance: Go Green

April 10 small image

By: Nancy Zimmerman, Senior Research Scientist, Kimberly-Clark Professional   |   04.10.14

It wasn’t so long ago that building industry professionals had to search far and wide to find formal guidance on how to design, construct and maintain sustainable buildings. Today, the industry is awash in guidelines and other publications designed to help achieve high-performance, sustainable buildings. Learn more about a few of them here.

One might argue that when it comes to sustainable buildings, the industry suffers from a wealth of information riches. With organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and others developing informational and educational guidance and other content, there are countless places to turn for help. This is certainly not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but here are a few good places to go for information: 

  • Now in its Fourth Edition, the ASHRAE GreenGuide contains updated guidance that reflects how green building practices have changed. The new edition includes a complete revision of the chapter on indoor environmental quality (IEQ), which stresses that IEQ should not be sacrificed to obtain energy use reductions. The Guide mentions the importance of particulate and gaseous air filtration in meeting Green Building needs and recommends filters with at least MERV 8, but suggests that filters with at least MERV 11 are most effective at reducing airborne particles under 2.5 microns.


  • To address the need for a comprehensive guide for procuring green building products and construction/renovation services within the Federal government, EPA partnered with the Federal Environmental Executive and the Whole Building Design Guide to develop the Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers. The Guide includes a section on indoor air quality (IAQ) management and can be downloaded for free.


  • EPA offers numerous resources and guides relating to sustainable building practices. One of these is An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality. While this Guide may be a little long in the tooth (it was published in 1997), it provides useful information to help people who work in office buildings learn about the factors that contribute to IAQ and comfort problems and the roles of building managers and occupants in maintaining a good indoor environment.


  • Perhaps the most visible green building organization today, USGBC offers a number of checklists, guidances, reference guides, and other resources designed to help create places that give people better, brighter, and healthier spaces to live, work and play.


  • Looking to stay on top of continuing education requirements? BuildingGreen offers a wide array of CEU-qualified content and other information resources to help professionals design and build construction projects from a whole-systems perspective and create healthy indoor environments.


Tell us in the Comments section below about the guidelines and other reference documents you turn to when looking for guidance on IAQ, energy conservation and other sustainable building practices. What works for you?



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