The indoor environmental quality at the TBG

By | explore, Green Initiatives | Tags: , | November 28, 2011 | No comments

Great care was taken in this building to provide a superior indoor environment for employees and guests. A comprehensive Indoor Air Quality Management Program was implemented during construction to protect materials and prevent contamination of the building from dust, dirt, moisture and harmful contaminants. The emphasis of this program was to control pollutants at their source.

Construction tasks such as cutting, grinding, demolition and painting were performed in a way that would eliminate or minimize dust or particulate contamination. Building materials such as finishes, furniture, adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings are all areas where volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be released into the air. These were avoided whenever possible.

After construction, the first step to ensuring quality indoor air was to provide adequate ventilation or “fresh air” for the building’s occupants. The amount of ventilation has a significant impact on indoor occupant health and satisfaction. Increased levels of fresh air result in happier employees who are more alert, attentive and productive. Similarly, students who are provided increased levels of fresh air retain information at a higher rate, perform better on tests and are generally more attentive during class time.

While providing high rates of ventilation are beneficial to occupant health, increased ventilation rates also result in higher energy costs due to higher heating and cooling requirements. To offset these costs, an occupancy controlled ventilation system was installed. The system measures the amount of CO2 expelled by building occupants to indicate a need for fresh air. As CO2 levels increase, the amount of fresh air provided increases to compensate.

An additional step was taken to provide superior indoor air quality by installing a high-efficiency MERV13 filter that removes dust and particulate matter. Similar to the link between fresh air and occupant health, comfort and productivity, there are proven links between indoor environmental quality and worker productivity.

A green housekeeping program
TBG’s commitment to green building extends well beyond the design and construction process by looking at the operation of the building. This is characterized by a life-cycle approach to green building design and operation. Cleaning and maintenance products often contain dangerous and even toxic chemicals. These products, when used within a building, enter the air and detrimentally impact occupant health. To control these sources of contamination a Green Housekeeping Program has been developed for this building.

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Aldona Satterthwaite about the author: Aldona Satterthwaite

Aldona Satterthwaite started gardening as a child and has never stopped. Until recently, she was the executive director of Toronto Botanical Garden. Previously, Aldona was editor-in-chief of Canadian Gardening magazine, which during her eight-year tenure was twice named Magazine of the Year (large circulation category) by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors. In 2007, she was co-named Editor of the Year. Aldona, who’s a Master Gardener, completed her journalism studies at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now Westminster University) in London, England and studied landscape architecture at Ryerson University. She’s enjoyed a varied and successful writing and editing career that has spanned magazines, advertising and the museum world, and has included stints as Director of Writing Services at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and as manager of creative services at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN, 777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, ON CANADA | 416-397-1341 | info@torontobotanicalgarden.ca