Search This Blog

Thursday, January 10, 2008

California Wants Control...

..of the thermostat in your new home.

California utilities would control the temperature of new homes and commercial buildings in emergencies with a radio-controlled thermostat, under a proposed state update to building energy efficiency standards.Customers could not override the thermostats during "emergency events," according to the proposal, part of a 236-page revision to building standards. The document is scheduled to be considered by the California Energy Commission, a state agency, on Jan. 30.

The description does not provide any exception for health or safety concerns. It also does not define what are "emergency events."

In the Tampa area, Tampa Electric (TECO) has a volunteer program called Prime Time. During a time of high use, instead of firing up another plant TECO would shut down air conditioning in selected homes to save energy. This is done so rarely that many Prime Time customers forget that they are on the program. In exchange for being on this program TECO customers get a discount on their electric bill.

This California proposal however, would be mandatory for new homes.

I know what you are thinking, and I am sure that there is a mechanism which would warn the powers to be if you should replace their thermostat with one controlled by you.

Friday, January 4, 2008

California Cracking Down on Ozone

Last September the California Air Resources Board voted to prohibit indoor ozone generators from putting out more than 0.05 ppm.

Robert Baker, Chairman & CEO, RGB Group, Tampa, FL, writing in Indoor Environment Connections, believes this is one of the
Worst AND Best Indoor Air Quality Event of 2007:

In my opinion, this represents one of the worst IAQ events of the year because it is an example of our private enterprise system and democratic processes failing to protect the health and welfare of American citizens and a regulatory authority being forced to step in.It ranks as one of the best of the year, however, because it appears that, after decades of debate and litigation involving manufacturers of such devices, one of the nation’s most influential bodies has initiated decisive action.

Mr. Baker continues:

Not only is ozone a respiratory irritant, but recent studies demonstrate that it can react with volatile organic compounds indoors and produce aldehydes and other harmful breakdown products.

And here are the comments of Jay Hoover, the president of Integrity Air Conditioning on the subject of ozone:

In general I agree. I am also happy that Florida still allows that air quality tool. ....So ozone can cause some volatile organic compounds to change into more harmful compounds. It however causes other known harmful organic compounds and other chemicals to be rendered harmless. For example carbon monoxide changes to carbon dioxide and O2 in the presence of O3. That can be great for people working in auto repair shops. We recommend a low level CO detector as a start for auto shops.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Are There More Spores Outdoors?...

…and do they have human health effects?

Below are excerpts from an article in the December 2007 issue of Indoor Environment Connections by Dr. Harriet Burge Director of Aerobiology, EMLab P&K, San Bruno, Calif. She is an expert in the field of Indoor Air Quality. You can read the entire article
here. - Way Cool

Yes, they do. Several papers in the literature document the relationship between asthma outbreaks and especially high concentrations of specific spore types. “New Orleans Asthma” is a syndrome blamed on basidiospores. Thunderstorm asthma has been blamed on a particular type of ascospore. In addition, clear relationships have been found between increased hospital admissions for asthma and outdoor spore concentrations. In the American Southwest, outdoor Alternaria exposure may actually initiate asthma in children.

Also consider the fact that gardening is considered to be a healthy form of exercise. You are outdoors breathing the “fresh” air (assuming you don’t live in the Los Angeles basin!) and are encouraging things to grow. You happily pull weeds and dig holes for the plants, breathing in the wonderful odors of the microbial volatiles responsible for the odor of new-turned soil along with all the spores (including those of Stachybotrys) that are growing on the dead leaves you are digging up.

On the other hand, gardening has never been reported to cause “toxic” symptoms such as headache, fatigue (other than that induced by using your muscles), memory loss, etc.