By Karina Mazhukhina | Jul 21, 2015

How do LEED-certified buildings measure up on indoor environmental quality? UW’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering conducted an investigation, funded by a Green Seed Grant, at the LEED Gold-certified Husky Union Building (HUB) to find out.

Professors Dorothy Reed and Amy Kim, graduate research assistant Stanley Wang, and engineering technician Yiming Liu focused on two spaces in particular – the Student Legal Services (SLS) Office and the Firecracker restaurant in Husky Den. They were able to test indoor environmental quality by measuring temperature, relative humidity, air speed, CO2, acoustics and lighting. A survey was also distributed to building occupants in an effort to better understand indoor comfort level.

Despite the LEED Gold rating, the environment in both the offices and restaurant settings became warmer and exceeded the comfort level for most of the occupants in the summer, and a third of the participants found the office settings were too warm in the autumn. The restaurant kitchen had regular temperature issues, as occupants reported frequent sweating, variation in temperatures, and increasingly hot temperatures, and in-situ measurements confirmed the findings.

The team is further investigating indoor environmental quality, user comfort, calibrating building ventilation systems, and taking into account occupant behavior, such as window opening.

Green Seed Projects which were funded in the 2013-2014 year recently presented their research findings to the Environmental Stewardship Committee. This is the first in a series of posts detailing those projects, including posters each team created on their findings. Click the poster image below for a full-size PDF.