Under the Building Regulations for Market Access initiative, NRC is collaborating with Health Canada and manufacturers to develop a technological framework for assessing the effectiveness of building products and systems that aim to improve cleanliness and safety of air in buildings. The methods and criteria being developed are also suitable for the development of regulations incorporating performance-based requirements for clean and safe indoor air.
Current building codes do not specify criteria for indoor air quality (IAQ); they simply mandate the capacity of the ventilation system. Manufacturers seeking to develop and commercialize technologies that meet market demand for healthy and comfortable indoor air rely on voluntary labelling and guides, and internal research. Manufacturers are looking to increasingly use information developed by NRC and others to develop and market products with reduced emissions, technologies to remove airborne contaminants, and to prevent their transfer into buildings.
Indoor air contaminants—from building products, materials, and systems—impact health, but the quantitative relationships between emissions and health are not fully understood. In order to control or regulate IAQ, manufacturers and builders require research to establish a clear link between improved air quality and improved health. Through partnership with health-related institutions, we are helping clients and partners develop the technical basis for de-risking and validating product designs, and for developing regulations.
Key Research Projects
With industrial and public partners, we are employing our indoor air research laboratories and experts in collaborative projects based on the following priorities:
- Evaluation protocols for accurately rating air cleaning technologies—We are developing methods and criteria for technologies such as portable air cleaners and filters to help our industry clients determine and demonstrate their effectiveness.
- New material emission evaluation methods and criteria—We will help industry evaluate material emissions beyond the currently limited range of compounds, and develop evaluation techniques that are faster and more cost effective for industry.
- Design guides and technologies that minimize the likelihood of radon entry into buildings—We will assist manufacturers of radon exhaust fans and passive radon barriers to validate their performance, by developing methods and criteria to fill existing gaps in evaluation.
- Establish methods to characterize and mitigate IAQ problems in houses with attached garages—We will develop methods and validate performance of active fans and passive barriers, helping manufacturers validate and demonstrate solutions to control transfer of off-gassing from vehicles, equipment and stored materials into living spaces.
Performance standards for air quality will help industry to reduce risk and liability in the marketplace, and to be more innovative in their product development.