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Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

December 10, 2011


When constructing cost-effective buildings, it is easy to forget that the success or failure of a project may rest on its indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Healthy, comfortable employees are often more satisfied and productive. Unfortunately, this simple truth is often lost, for it is easier to focus on the first-cost of a project than it is to determine the value of increased user productivity and health. Facilities should be constructed with an appreciation of the importance of providing high-quality, interior environments for all users.

IEQ encompasses indoor air quality (IAQ), which focuses on airborne contaminants, as well as other health, safety, and comfort issues such as aesthetics, potable water surveillance, ergonomics, acoustics, lighting, and electromagnetic frequency levels. IEQ improvements to an existing building can occur at any point during the use of a building.

During the facility/renovation design and development process, federal projects must have a comprehensive, integrated perspective that seeks to:

  • Facilitate quality IEQ through good design, construction, and operating and maintenance practices;
  • Value aesthetic decisions, such as the importance of views and the integration of natural and man-made elements;
  • Provide thermal comfort with a maximum degree of personal control over temperature and airflow;
  • Supply adequate levels of ventilation and outside air for acceptable indoor air quality;
  • Prevent airborne bacteria, mold, and other fungi through building envelope design that properly manages moisture sources from outside and inside the building, and with heating, ventilating, air-conditioning (HVAC) system designs that are effective at controlling indoor humidity;
  • Use materials that do not emit pollutants or are low-emitting;
  • Assure acoustic privacy and comfort through the use of sound absorbing material and equipment isolation;
  • Control disturbing odors through contaminant isolation and removal, an by careful selection of cleaning products;
  • Create a high performance luminous environment through the careful integration of natural and artificial light sources; and
  • Provide quality water.

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