Once upon a time on a different publication, I wrote a column that talked about the vital importance of comfort. I discussed how the industry changed. How it moved away from the idea that people were more productive when they were comfortable. The move was toward the need to seal up buildings and homes to increase energy efficiency at all costs.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) was one of several focal points of that change. Yet, the overall HVAC industry really didn’t pay it much attention. Not until that fateful event in the summer of 1976. I am talking about the first major outbreak of Legionella pneumophila (bit.ly/Legionellosis) during an American Legion convention at the Belleview Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. That changed our world.

That led to a national push for IAQ legislation and ultimately, in the 1980s, to the quality revolution which served to take the industry back on the road toward comfort.

Perhaps a true turning point happened around the time of an editorial written by NCI CEO Dominick Guarino. He wrote, “After a 20-year derailment triggered by the energy crisis, the HVAC industry is showing strong signs of getting back on the comfort track.”

Comfort began the long trek back to the reason why the HVAC business exists. It no longer took a back seat to energy efficiency. Comfort regained its position as the embodiment of how buildings and homes should be designed, built, commissioned, and serviced.

Comfort in Buildings Still Needs Help

Fast forward to 2020 and 2021. The world continues battling COVID-19. This pandemic has forced most people to shelter at home where they discovered air quality isn’t what it should be.

In fact, Dominick Guarino addressed this issue in his August 2021 High-Performance HVAC Today column, just a few months ago (nclink.com/0821-OMT).

He talked about how changes to HVAC systems can negatively impact their operation. He showed how it hurt indoor air quality, and even reduce efficiencies without proper testing and diagnosis.

In this Issue

In this issue, IAQ Specialist John Ellis writes about the current state of affairs (ncilink.com/IAQaffairs) and provides six fundamentals to follow to properly address IAQ issues. He points out the importance of process for addressing issues and the need to NOT view “gadgets” as silver bullets.

Our IAQ coverage continues with an article by David Richardson. He takes on the educational failure that contributed greatly to the number of carbon monoxide injuries and deaths in Texas this past February (ncilink.com/COCrisis). Richardson points out the lessons we can take away from that disaster so that we can continue providing comfortable and safe environments, even in the face of a disaster.

Finally, on the commercial front, Contractor Darl Works discusses the impact of commercial building imbalances on IAQ (ncilink.com/CommIAQ) and how his company works toward correcting such issues.

Yes, this month our focus is on IAQ. But ultimately IAQ leads to comfort and comfort isn’t a luxury — especially today. It’s the basis for productivity, health, and safety. We should never lose sight of that importance or our industry’s role in it.