IAQA’s Annual Conference, Texas, 2015 – the PureLiving team reports (Part 1)

The PureLiving team – Louie Cheng, President, and our senior Environmental Consultants, Eric Sun and Graeme McLeish, attended the IAQA’s Annual Conference 2015 in Texas. The IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing practitioners together to prevent and solve indoor environmental problems for the benefit of customers and the public. A highlight on the IAQ industry calendar, Graeme says thatt teh Annual Conference is an invaluable experience and  ‘a must for anyone operating within the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) industry’.

Graeme reports on their experience at the Conference :

The IAQA Annual Conference is a unique opportunity, both educational and personal : a chance to learn about new research, real-life practical methods and best practices, and to interact with other organizations in the industry from all over the world in a personal, face-to-face manner.  What made it yet more special this year for us was that my colleague Eric and I had just successfully become American Council-Certified Indoor Environmental professionals (CIE), a first in China : a venture involving two years of blood, sweat and tears in the field, a necessary prerequisite before taking the closed-book exam.

We were filled with a new confidence and raring to go, despite which the pre-conference advanced workshops proved way more intense than we expected : a full day’s course condensed into just four hours demanding utilization and leverage of our existing experience and knowledge.  However draining, it turned out to be a fantastic learning experience, incorporating analytical techniques into real scenarios brought to life by the lecturers. One of the presenters, Dr. Spurgeon, a specialist in microbial contaminants and a published author, was able to deliver technically challenging content in a digestible manner to a wide range of practitioners and professionals.  (Did you know that there are millions of species of mold, with only 15,000 classified thus far!)

Sitting through Texas-size traffic jams marked the start to the first day of the Conference for us, which actually gave us a way to plan how to cover as much as possible of the three Conference tracks between Eric (Sun), Louie Cheng and me. Each fifty-minute session involved a technical briefing by an experienced professional – engineer, scientist, academic or seasoned practitioner; and included a closing Q&A allowing for interaction and sharing of experiences from among the audience. Subjects ranged from materials science, health risks related to mold and bacteria, built environment and HVAC systems as well as low energy filtration for homes, understanding ultra-fine particulate pollution as well as allergen exposures and pioneering ventilation research. Henry Slack of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) presented research from indoor air scientists on the relationship of effective ventilation and increased test scores among students, and greater staff productivity.

Besides the seminars, the Environment and Energy Exposition was the showcase area for organizations, and another great place to check out innovations, test the tools for ourselves and ask questions. Particles Plus, the producer of advanced handheld particle counters and future PureLiving partners, were displaying new devices and monitors, aiding our understanding of the science of particles and their physical properties, and we look forward to employing them in the field in China.

The Exposition gave us an invaluable opportunity to get up close and personal with the LEED specialists. With IAQ becoming an increasingly important subject and area of concern for people, companies and schools, the LEED certification for buildings has become much sought-after. PureLiving  is now involved in many more  LEED projects, because of which sourcing specific equipment and analytical services from the right laboratory becomes essential for an effective partnership. Obtaining a LEED certificate entails a stringent testing process involving very specific criteria and methods so this interaction provided for answers to our questions, first-hand insights and expert opinions on the standards.

(Continued in Part 2)

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