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What's Your IQ on IAQ and IEQ?

Are IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) and IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) the same thing? Many people confuse the two, but they are different (although overlapping) concepts.


IAQ is a subset of IEQ. Indoor Air Quality focuses on, not surprisingly, air. IAQ is a measure of the building’s interior air in terms of the occupant’s potential health and comfort. Chemical, physical, and biological contaminants can cause symptoms ranging from discomfort to serious illness. Potential contaminants can include dust, cigarette smoke, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, radon, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and various other chemical compounds from outgassing of building materials and cleaning supplies. Careful selection of building materials and cleaning agents, as well as having air filters and sufficient ventilation increases air quality.


IAQ is about what we breathe. IEQ, more comprehensively, is about what we breathe, see, hear, and feel inside a building. IEQ includes IAQ as well as other physical and psychological aspects of life indoors. IEQ is a measure of multiple aspects of an indoor environment on human health and performance, including indoor air quality, lighting, visual quality, acoustics, and thermal comfort.


Indoor Environmental Quality is a critically important credit category in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. The largest components of IEQ (IAQ, thermal comfort, and lighting) are greatly enhanced by a Building Automation System.


Additional Resources


Why Green Buildings Are Good


Benefits of Controls in Green Buildings


KMC Lighting Controls for “Watt” Matters to You


Smoke Control and Building Automation Systems

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