Is “dilution the solution to pollution”? For indoor air quality? Really?By
Is “dilution the solution to pollution”? Really?
Ok, I admit it I am new to the odor remediation industry, the Indoor Air Quality industry and by no means am I a civil engineer or an HVAC expert. However ever since I started helping clients with nuisance odors I keep hearing a common quote;
“Dilution the solution to pollution”
Have you ever heard something that everyone has been saying for years that made you wonder….really? Well this quote this basic premise weaves its way through a number of odor treatment and nuisance odor remedies that impact indoor air quality today ( IAQ) . So I started asking around and doing a little web based research.
What I found was during the WWII time period and the United States was experiencing explosive industrial growth, the thought; The Solution to pollution is dilution was the de facto standard. This though that has become a belief by being repeated for over 72 years now permeates throughout applications designed to solve nuisance odor remediation today.
How do we solve an odor, say from a Volatile Organic Compound, impacting the indoor air quality? ….we pump in more air from the outside ambient air,… after all it has to be cleaner than the inside air right? Not so says the EPA reports that discuss the six most common air pollution concentrations for ozone, particle pollution, NO2, CO2 and SO2.So this makes me scratch my head…so let me get this straight, the way you will remove say the nuisance odor of diesel fumes at an indoor bus station is to pump more outside air, from where the buses are continually idling all day? And what about the air with fuel smells impacting your indoor air quality…where does it go with your recommended 12-20 air changes per hour? You guessed it, it is released into our outside ambient air. (Where you are gathering the supposed clean air to ventilate the indoor air space)
I did find an interesting comment from Smart Communities Network;
“The maxim “dilution is the solution to pollution” was the conceptual tool applied to air pollution for most of the 20th Century. By diluting airborne toxins with sufficient fresh air, the theory goes, their concentration and toxicity can be reduced to the point that they pose no threat to human health or to the environment. It has become clear in this era of global air pollution and climatic change that the dilution theory has its limitations. To reduce air pollution to a level that is sustainable, new strategies must be developed.”
Ok, so this is where I need industry experts in the HVAC industry, say someone familiar with Ashrae Standards to help add their expertise to the conversation.
Is dilution the best solution to indoor air pollution impacting the overall indoor air quality?
Is dilution perhaps a great solution for some agents in the air and not VOC’s?
What is the energy cost impact of a dilution / ventilation strategy?