Healthy Air Episode #13

Episode #13
Innovation in Indoor Air Quality | Marwa Zaatari

In this episode, Marwa talks about the innovation in air quality and how it took a pandemic to start discussions about indoor air quality. She also discusses the struggle to fix air quality in schools and how parents need to hold schools accountable. Marwa encourages listeners to challenge their schools and ask them about ventilation, filtration, and air cleaning.

Dr. Marwa Zaatari is Chief Science Officer at D ZINE Partners and Co-chair of enVerid Systems’ advisory board. She leads the research and development of “Air as a Service” around heat exchanger coils, ventilation, filtration, and indoor air quality measurements. Her work continues to advance building science methods and assessing performance-based procedures to design and operate buildings to optimize energy and people efficiency. Zaatari has extensive experience in quantifying the transport of indoor air pollutants, building energy environmental management, and assessing performance-based procedures of HVAC ventilation and air cleaning. Zaatari earned a Ph.D. in Architectural and Environmental Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin with a focus on the built environment and a Master’s degree in Engineering Management from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, with a focus on energy management. Zaatari is a board member at the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and has been an ASHRAE distinguished lecturer and a member of several ASHRAE Committees, including the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force and a voting member of Standard 62.1.

Keeping air safe has never been more important. Now that we are in the next normal, it is critical that the air we breathe in shared indoor spaces is healthy and safe for continued occupancy. Are we ready to face this challenge and mitigate airborne exposure risk indoors? Welcome to Healthy Air, a podcast that talks about the future of buildings and how to keep air safe and healthy. Keep up with the latest industry trends, latest technologies, and regulatory changes with your host, Erik Malmstrom, industry experts, and the SafeTraces team here on Healthy Air.

SHOW NOTES:

  • An overview of Marwa’s background [1:00]
  • D ZINE Partners’ mission and focus [6:57]
  • What motivated Marwa to be active in USGBC and ASHRAE [9:50]
  • How the pandemic started the discussion about indoor air quality [12:44]
  • COVID: the mode of transmission [15:28]
  • The use of electronic air cleaning equipment in buildings [18:06]
  • Marwa’s sense of the science over a year into the pandemic [23:50]
  • The struggle to fix air quality in schools [30:14]
  • Marwa’s predictions of the future’s popular and vital technologies [33:50]
  • D ZINE Partners’ areas of innovation [36:43]
  • Marwa’s predictions on building changes in the next ten years [39:26]
  • How D ZINE Partners stays on top of the market pulse [41:48]

Resources:

QUOTES:

“My biggest worry is that schools will spend all of their money and still not have good air quality in their schools.”

“There’s a big gap between disease prevention and having healthy buildings. It took a pandemic to start discussions about indoor air quality.”

“It sounds small, but making a change to standards is extremely impactful to the world.”

“The main mode of transmission of COVID is the airborne route.”

“There is finally a call for air to be safe, just like we expect our food and water to be safe.”

“The last thing you want is to implement a solution for air quality and then, later on, discover you can’t maintain it due to costs.”

“Parents need to be involved in holding schools accountable. Challenge your schools and ask them about ventilation, filtration, and air cleaning.”

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