NDSU Indoor Air Quality
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Welcome to the North Dakota State University Indoor Air Quality website.  This site is designed to provide North Dakota State University employees with information and tools needed to address Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) concerns at our facilities.  We begin by addressing the following questions:

What is Indoor Air Quality?
What is Acceptable Indoor Air Quality?
What Affects Indoor Air Quality?
How Does North Dakota State University Manage Indoor Air Quality?
Who Can I Contact for Assistance?

What is Indoor Air Quality?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) define Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) as: 

The temperature, humidity, ventilation and chemical or biological contaminants of the air inside a building.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the quality of the air inside buildings as represented by concentrations of pollutants and thermal (temperature and relative humidity) conditions that affect the health, comfort, and performance of occupants. 

The growing proliferation of chemical pollutants in consumer and commercial products, the tendency toward tighter building envelopes and reduced ventilation to save energy, and pressures to defer maintenance and other building services to reduce costs may foster indoor air quality problems.

To learn more about IAQ check out our Information Pages

What is Acceptable IAQ?

The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air conditioning Engineers, inc. (ASHRAE) defines Acceptable Indoor Air Quality as air in which there are not known contaminants at harmful concentrations by cognizant authorities and with which a substantial majority (80% or more) of the people exposed do not express dissatisfaction. 

Buildings exist to protect people from the elements and to otherwise support human activity. Buildings should not make people sick, cause them significant discomfort, or otherwise inhibit their ability to perform. However it must be understood that not all occupants may be "satisfied" with how effectively a building functions.  

To learn more about IAQ check out our Information Pages

What Affects IAQ?

IAQ is not necessarily an easily understood concept. It is a constantly changing interaction of a complex set of factors. Each of these factors must be considered when looking for an indoor air quality problem. Many IAQ professionals use the four factors listed below as a basis for a foundation to understanding the dynamics of IAQ.  It is vital to understand how each of these factors interact and affect IAQ.  This understanding can often lead to solutions to IAQ problems .

Source: there is a source of contamination or discomfort indoors, outdoors, or within the mechanical systems of the building.

Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC): the HVAC system is not able to control existing air contaminants and ensure thermal comfort (temperature and humidity conditions that are comfortable for most occupants).

Pathways: one or more pollutant pathways connect the pollutant source to the occupants and a driving force exists to move pollutants along the pathway(s).

Occupants: building occupants are present and are affected enough to raise indoor air quality concerns.

To learn more about factors affecting IAQ click HERE

How Does North Dakota State University Manage IAQ?

Managing a building is a difficult and complex job. There are many competing demands -- health and safety, building maintenance, housekeeping, and communications with occupants. If indoor air quality is not well managed on a regular basis, the resolution of problems can be extremely costly.  So it helps to understand the causes and consequences of indoor air quality and to manage a building to avoid problems.

Maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment in any building requires integrating many components of a complex system.  Indoor air quality problems are often preventable and/or solvable.  

North Dakota State University has implemented a practical and integrated IAQ management approach for its facilities.  The core objective of North Dakota State University's approach is to provide resources to accomplish the following:

  1. Provide educational resources to employees interested/concerned with IAQ:
  2. Provide resources to resolve IAQ concerns.
  3. Provide resources to prevent  IAQ concerns;

The basis for this approach is contained in three widely recognized IAQ references:  

EPA's-Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers; (Click HERE)
Building Air Quality Action Plan;  (Click HERE) and 
Indoor Air Quality Building Education and Assessment Model (IBEAM)  (Click HERE)

It is worth noting that the approach emphasizes changing how a building is operated and maintained, not increasing the amount of work or cost  associated with those activities.  Good IAQ does not have to compete with other building management priorities; in fact, it can enhance some. For example, the efficiencies gained by keeping your HVAC system clean and better controlled both enhance IAQ and reduce energy costs.

To promote the use of these straightforward approach, North Dakota State University has implemented an IAQ Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), developed procedures to address IAQ concerns and has made IAQ information readily available

IAQ Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
IAQ Procedures
IAQ Information

In order to use the this approach effectively, one must have a thorough understanding of the concepts and practice of managing indoor air quality.   An understanding can be gained from a thorough reading of our IAQ Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlines procedures to be followed by occupants, supervisors and IAQ Coordinator when IAQ concerns arise.  In addition, there is extensive referencing to other IAQ  information, making it helpful and easy to implement the procedures of the North Dakota State University IAQ Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Contact Information

IAQ Coordinator: Office of Safety and Environmental Health

Telephone: 231-7759
Fax: 231-6739
Address: Office of Safety and Environmental Health, 1801 - 15th Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58105
Electronic Mail:

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