The Informer – April 2018 (Digest Version)

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Here’s the April 2018 edition of The Informer, the quarterly issue of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council.  To receive your copy of The Informer right to your inbox, sign up at the bottom of this page.


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April 2018
President’s Message

Ted Small, Esq.
Maine Indoor Air Quality Council


As an attorney with a practice focused on construction litigation, I understand well the consequences construction mistakes have for both indoor air quality and energy efficiency. In so many cases, disaster could have been prevented had the parties involved simply been better educated in current building practices, basic building science, and more thoughtful application of the latest building products.

As we head into the busy construction season, I encourage all readers of The Informer to take the time to do one of the following:

  • Get involved. Join a professional organization and take advantage of the networking and engagement opportunities that organization provides.
  • Participate in at least one educational opportunity every year, Don’t let ignorance of issues be your first line of defense when things go wrong.
  • Be better than the codes. Excellence in construction often requires taking extra measures that exceed the minimum protections provided by the codes.

Happy Spring!

Respectfully Submitted,

Ted Small, Council President


Through-Wall ERVs


This article was written by MIAQC Executive Director Christine Crocker, for publication in the March Issue of Green & Healthy Maine Homes Magazine. You can find current and past issues of Green & Healthy Maine Homes Magazine at www.thesunriseguide.com.

Through-wall energy recovery ventilation (ERV) units are relative newcomers to the residential ventilation and high performance building arena, offering a practical ventilation solution when full size units aren’t an option. The units are designed to blow in for 70 seconds and then reverse and exhaust out for 70 seconds. They are typically installed in pairs, working in tandem to blow and pull air across a space for maximum ventilation. Most units have a ceramic energy-recovery core that absorbs heat energy and some moisture from the outgoing air and transfers both back into the incoming air, making them fairly energy efficient. Some units, depending on their installation, can be programmed to have quite a variety of settings, including: Off, Low Air Exchange, Hi Air Exchange and Exhaust.

Through-wall ERVs can be very useful for adding ventilation to indoor spaces, but they are not without limitations in their application or their cost.

Read the full article.

Would you like to contribute a feature article to an upcoming newsletter? Contact Christy Crocker, MIAQC Executive Director, with your ideas. christy@maineindoorair.org


The Future of the Maine State Radon Program – Alive and Well

Last Fall, Bob Stilwell, who served as the Director of the Maine State Radon Section for close to 30 years and who has essentially personified the state’s radon initiatives, left the radon program for another position within the Department. Bob’s departure, followed by other unexpected staffing changes, left many in the public and professional community wondering what the future holds for state-supported initiatives to address radon in Maine.

Christy Crocker, MIAQC Executive Director, reached out to Nancy Beardsley and Jay Hyland at Maine CDC seeking an update on both the current status and future of the Maine State Radon Section. Here’s a quick summary of what she learned:

  • Although handling other program duties, Bob Stilwell has not completely disappeared from the radon arena. He continues to be available as a resource to the radon program and is actively working to finalize the radon rules which have been in the pipeline for the last couple of years.
  • Although Bob’s radon position and that of the Section support staff are currently vacant, they are scheduled for recruitment/filling in the very near future. (FYI – if anyone is interested in being considered for one of these positions, contact Jay Hyland at Maine CDC to be placed on a list to receive more information as it becomes available).
  • In spite of some uncertainty regarding the future of federal funding, the state of Maine will continue to allocate resources for the program. Radon initiatives have the full support of the Commissioner’s office.
  • The Department is both maintaining its existing programs and services as well as exploring new opportunities through collaboration with “sister” programs and other state agencies.
  • Members of the public seeking radon information can still access the radon homepage (available through www.maineradiationcontrol.org) or contact the department at 207-287-5676.

Those of us here at the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council look forward to continued collaboration with the State Radon Section, and to creating a working relationship with the new radon staff. Radon has been and will continue to be a priority action area for the Council, and we are pleased to learn that it will continue to be supported at the state-wide level.



Would you like to advertise in this quarterly newsletter? Our distribution goes to more than 16,000 professionals in Maine, and around the country, with a solid open rate. Contact the MIAQC office at 207-626-8115 to secure your ad placement in our July issue.



If you haven’t yet done so, be sure to check out the amazing line-up of presentations and speakers at the signature event of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council: the IAQ & Energy Conference, scheduled for May 1-2, 2018 in Portland. You won’t find a better event that addresses indoor environments in a comprehensive way: from design and construction, to investigations, remediation, operations, maintenance, health, and communication.

Who should attend? Architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, IHs, building inspectors, real estate professionals, health professionals, licensed pesticides applicators, mold testers and remediators, public health advocates, and anyone interested in healthy, energy-efficient indoor environments.

New for 2018! Now you can attend both in-person in Portland, Maine or on-line from your computer.

Event details at our new event website:


IAQ Stuff to Do

Get out there and get involved! Attend a program, join an organization, work on a committee. Make connections with other professionals. You’ll be better for it!

New England Passive Haus Multi Family Conference
Friday, April 6, 2018
Kensington, NH



ASHRAE Maine Monthly Meetings
Contact Rachel Riley for more information.


Site Walk Waynflete School
hosted by passivehausMAINE
Weds. April 18, 5-6 pm



ASHRAE 62.2 for Single Family Dwellings
March 12 – April 22, 2018

A six-week, self-paced online course. Instructor is Maine’s own Rick Karg.



IAQ & Energy 2018!

May 1-2, 2018
Holiday Inn by the Bay
Portland, ME



2018 MIAQC Golf Tournament
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Poland Spring Resort

Supporting the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council. Prizes for period attire!



Maine Wood & Sustainability
Wednesday, May 9
Hannaford Hall, Portland

A conference examining wood for beauty, efficiency, sustainability of the built environment.



Bad Applications of Good Products
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine – Augusta

Join us on June 7th for our next short-format breakfast program, focusing on how things can go wrong when building products aren’t installed as intended. Includes Annual MIAQC Membership Business Meeting.



27th Annual ASHRAE Golf Tournament
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
8:30 a.m. – Shotgun Start
Spring Meadows – Gray, ME

Supports the local ASHRAE Student Chapter Scholarship Fund.

Contact Jeff Charette
jcharette@trane.com or 207-239-3401 to register.


Out and About with MIAQC

We don’t sit around! What’s MIAQC been up to lately?

At the March meeting of the Board of Directors, the Board approved a proposal to create a certification for those residential construction professionals who: 1) have attended all four of the Council’s Residential Construction Trainings within the past 5 years (Foundations, Building Shell, Ventilation, and Renovations); 2) pass a certification exam; and 3) pledge to present to homeowners the strategies consistent with the training content. Details on the new certification are available HERE. Contact Christy Crocker at 207-626-8115 or christy@maineindoorair.org if you would like to take the certification exam.


Executive Director Christy Crocker met with representatives of IAQA Chapters in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to explore opportunities for collaboration. The outcome? We hope to present a jointly-sponsored education session in the Fall of 2018! Stay tuned for more details as they are developed…


On March 15th, Board members Steve Caulfield and Dick Rollins represented the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council at the CSI High Performance Building Conference held in Portland, Maine.


Throughout the month of March, the Council was busy presenting its popular Residential Construction Trainings. In spite of the challenges created by 4 Nor’easters hitting the state during the month, we managed to draw a total attendance of 100+ throughout the series. Wish you could have gone? Don’t worry – we’ll be doing another series in late 2018 or early 2019.


In March alone, the Council took 47 calls from members of the public seeking guidance and information about their specific indoor air quality concerns.


A special planning team has been hard at work planning a Healthy Housing Summit for September 2018. The Summit will focus on the challenges posed by mold and dampness in rental properties. The planning team is working on a variety of guidance documents: 1) the roles and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants to manage mold and moisture problems in their units, 2) “best practices” when leaking or mold/dampness problems are discovered in rental units, and 3) strategies to minimize costs of remediation and repair. If you would like to help us with this initiative, please contact Christy Crocker at 207-626-8115 or christy@maineindoorair.org.

Get Involved!

Contact MIAQC Executive Director Christy Crocker to find out how you can participate in and support the work of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council:
207-626-8115; christy@maineindoorair.org.

Call of the Month

The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council receives hundreds of calls each year from homeowners, tenants, employers, building managers and others with questions about indoor environments.

In late February, the Council was very pleased to receive a call from the Bangor Daily News looking for information on improving indoor air quality in Maine homes. We LOVE the opportunity to share our mission and our message with those looking for information on ways to improve their indoor environment, MIAQC Executive Director Christy Crocker provided the reporter with background information for creating healthy indoor environments, and referred her to Board Member Kurt Johnson for the actual source interview.

The resulting article was interesting, in that it both conveyed solid concepts for healthy indoor spaces (keep pollutants out of the indoor environment, and provide a pathway out if trapped indoors) as well as presented strategies that we here at the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council would view as being outside best practice recommendations (masking odors by introducing additional elements.)

The issue of odor comes up a lot in the indoor air quality arena: it is both the foundation upon which ventilation standards were originally developed, as well as the bar by which many homeowners evaluate their own indoor environment. If it smells good, it must be good, right? Anyone who had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Christine Oliver, the keynote presenter at IAQ & Energy last year, knows well that just because something smells good, or is “natural,” doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

We here at the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council will continue our efforts to communicate solid, well-researched best practice guidance for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of healthy indoor environments for all.

Read the Bangor Daily News article.

Continue the Conversation! View and comment on this posting on our LinkedIn discussion group page.

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words…

The following images were contributed by David Johnston, a builder and adjunct professor at CMCC. David is one of the co-trainers of the Council’s Residential Construction Training Series.

Moisture remaining in the morning at the stud bays, evaporated at the warmer studs


Inadequate oil storage protection… over 1320 gallons requires “ Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure SPCC


Poorly built fireplace showing charred wood and sooty insulation


Terrible flashing at the meter enclosure


No getting away from mice


Backdraft, rain leakage, the works


Boiler in need of a tune up?


Everyone’s wrong answer To a damp basement or crawlspace


Why I insist that the inner foundation tie be broken off prior to dampproofing the exterior


Do you have an interesting photo to share? Send it to christy@maineindoorair.org for inclusion in our next issue!

Reminder…the Best Deals Go to Members

Thinking about attending IAQ & Energy 2018? Just a reminder that the best deals always go to MIAQC Members.

Council Partners’ Corner

The Maine Indoor Air Quality Council is grateful for the financial and in-kind support our Council Partners provide us on a daily basis. This month we feature our long-standing partner, Turner Building Science & Design. If your company is interested in partnering with us in a similar capacity, please contact Christy Crocker, MIAQC Executive Director.

From Steve Caulfield, President of Turner Building Science & Design in Harrison, ME:
Turner Building Science and Design is proud to be a corporate partner with the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council. We are looking forward to the IAQ & Energy 2018 conference next month, which promises to be the best show ever. With multiple, nationally-recognized speakers and live-streaming of many of the presentations, whether you attend in-person or online we recommend that you don’t miss this one! Don’t forget to stop by our booth, either live or virtually.

Our Council Partners:


Support MIAQC!

Support the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council each time you shop on Amazon. Start at www.smile.amazon.com.

Contact MIAQC Executive Director Christy Crocker to find out how you can participate in and support the work of the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council: 207-626-8115christy@maineindoorair.org.

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