Although at present there is no federal legislation that sets standards for acceptable IAQ, a number of states have enacted legislation requiring them.The scope and nature of IAQ regulation varies on a state-by-state basis.

However, a good rule of thumb is to include what legal experts refer to as “providing standard practice of care” when determining the level of IAQ. However, during the design, construction, and even retrofit of commercial buildings there are recommended trade association standards which should be followed.

The standards such as those offered by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) were created to address many different aspects of commercial building management which can affect indoor air quality.

ASHRAE Standard 62-1989
The standard recommending guidelines for acceptable IAQ is referred to as Standard 62-1999:“Ventilation for Acceptable Air Quality.” ASHRAE 62-1999 is intended to assist professionals in the proper design of ventilation systems for buildings.

The purpose of the standard is to specify minimum ventilation rates and indoor air quality that will be acceptable to human occupants and minimize the potential for adverse health effects.The standard applies to all indoor or enclosed spaces that people may occupy, and even discusses the release of moisture in residential kitchens, bathrooms, locker rooms, and swimming pools.

Readers are urged to obtain a copy from ASHRAE, 1791 Tullie Circle, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30329-2305, or the ASHRAE web site,

ASHRAE Standard 55-1992
The second of the two ASHRAE standards which can have an effect on indoor air quality is referred to as standard 55-1992: “Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.” ASHRAE 55-1992 covers several environmental parameters, including the temperature, radiation, humidity, and air movement designed within a building’s structure.

Since the perception of being too warm or cold, too humid or dry, can sometimes be misinterpreted as an IAQ issue, thermal comfort within the occupied space becomes important. Some of the important features of ASHRAE 55-1992 include the following:

● A definition of acceptable thermal comfort
● Recommendations for summer comfort zones and winter comfort zones, clearly defined in graphs
● Guidelines for making adjustments in air delivery depending on occupant activity levels

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