Energy-related indoor environmental quality research: A priority agenda

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A multidisciplinary team of IEQ and energy researchers has defined a program of priority energy-related IEQ research. This paper describes the methods employed to develop the agenda, and 35 high priority research and development (R&D) project areas related to four broad goals: 1)identifying IEQ problems and opportunities; 2)developing and evaluating energy-efficient technologies for improving IEQ; 3)developing and evaluating energy-efficient practices for improving IEQ; and 4)encouraging or assisting the implementation of technologies or practices for improving IEQ. The identified R&D priorities reflect a strong need to benchmark IEQ conditions in small commercial buildings, schools, and residences. The R&D priorities also reflect the need to better understand how people are affected by IEQ conditions and by the related building characteristics and operation and maintenance practices. The associated research findings will provide a clearer definition of acceptable IEQ that is required to guide the development of technologies, practices, standards, and guidelines. Quantifying the effects of building characteristics and practices on IEQ conditions, in order to provide the basis for development of energy efficient and effective IEQ control measures, was also considered a priority. The development or advancement in a broad range of IEQ tools, technologies, and practices are also a major component of the priority research agenda. Consistent with the focus on "energy-related" research priorities, building ventilation and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and processes are very prominent in the agenda. Research related to moisture and microbiological problems, particularly within hot and humid climates, is also prominent within the agenda. The agenda tends to emphasize research on residences, small commercial buildings, and schools because these types of buildings have been underrepresented in prior research. Most of the research areas apply to both new construction and existing buildings. Nearly all of the recommended priority R&D project areas include tasks intended to facilitate the communication and implementation of the research results. In addition, the priority agenda includes several projects specifically designed to facilitate or stimulate the use of existing energy-efficient technologies and practices for improving IEQ. To assure that the research program continues to meet the needs of stakeholders and to facilitate the coordination of research among sponsors, the core team recommends an annual meeting attended by sponsors, a balanced group of stakeholders, and a selection of researchers implementing the agenda.

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