Buildings are getting tighter to save energy while COVID is drawing attention to the importance of proper ventilation. How much ventilation is needed? For residential buildings, there’s a widely accepted standard.
ASHRAE 62.2 “Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings” Standard is a national standard that provides minimum requirements and methods for achieving acceptable indoor air quality in residences.
ASHRAE 62.2 has been around since 2003 and has been updated many times. 62.2 has been adopted into the buildings codes of many states and is foundational for the Weatherization Assistance Programs in every state. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety. The program supports 8,500 jobs and provides weatherization services to approximately 35,000 homes every year using DOE funds.
Rick Karg teaches several courses on ASHRAE 62.2, sits on the ASHRAE committee that sets ventilation standards, and owns Residential Energy Dynamics, a company that provides software tools for sizing ventilation systems. He knows more about ASHRAE 62.2 than just about anyone, and he recently explained to me that while 62.2 is a standard for sizing ventilation systems, there’s no standard for installing ventilation systems. It doesn’t exist.
That surprised me because we do so much work in the solar industry, where installation standards exist and are widely adopted. IREC sets clean energy standards that map to real professional careers. NABCEP uses these standards to create credentials that require professionals to demonstrate competence and understanding of the right way to do things.
Widespread adoption of ASHRAE 62.2 means we have consensus about the right way to do ventilation. A natural next step is to set installation standards to make sure the theory is put into practice at scale. An installation standard for ventilation would have a lot of benefits for the industry:
- Clarity around who is responsible for a ventilation system installation
- Pathways to help professionals identify and pursue a career
- Enhanced reputation, credibility, & consumer confidence for ventilation installers
- Increased marketability
- Validation of knowledge
- Alignment of interests for trainers and students resulting from the separation of training and credentialing
This last point is how this issue came to my attention. Learners in our ASHRAE 62.2 classes have been using certificates of completion to demonstrate competence in ventilation installation. While flattering, that’s not what we designed the courses to do. They are our customers and we want to be their biggest cheerleaders and supporters. But when we are also the gatekeepers with the power to ‘pass’ or ‘not pass’ students, that is a serious responsibility. It’s a responsibility we shouldn’t have alone.
A ventilation installation standard would be a big win. It’s what we need to train the next generation of professionals, combat climate change, and keep people healthy inside residential buildings. If your organization wants to participate in a conversation about developing an installation standard then let’s connect and move the conversation forward together.