Mitigating Risk In The Air We Breathe

How to improve the safety and health of the indoor air in homes

with Monica Rokicki

Course begins May 21, 2024

  • Nearly 6 hours of in-depth how-to video instruction
  • Downloadable learning resources

AIA Approved 5 LU/HSW credits

Course Overview 

We spend 90% of our lives indoors, much of that in our homes. Even if well-known dangers like radon or carbon dioxide are not present, there are many other things that can make indoor air quality unhealthy. The good news is that with a systems-based method, we can achieve the conditions that result in healthy indoor air quality.

Learn how to approach design, construction, and maintenance in new homes and remodels, and how to consider existing homes, with indoor air quality in mind. This course includes nearly six hours of in-depth how-to video instruction, and downloadable learning resources.

What You'll Learn In This Course:

  • Learn how to define healthy indoor air quality
  • Understand the cause and effect of common indoor air pollutants Debunk common myths about indoor air quality
  • Understand the role and limitations of common building enclosure component on indoor air quality
  • Understand the role and limitations of common HVAC systems
  • Understand methods to assess indoor air quality problems and discover their causes
  • Understand how the building codes do and do not address indoor air quality
  • Learn effective strategies for indoor air quality control over the life of the building

Module #1

  • The Life of a Building
  • Define healthy IAQ, why it matters, how it is connected to location, utility costs, and carbon footprint, and what we can expect to control over the life of a building
  • Effects of indoor air pollution
  • Key air quality measurements: CO, CO2, Radon, Relative Humidity, Building Tightness, etc.
  • Common Misconceptions
  • In the Field: Examples of indoor air quality problems

Module #2

  • How the building enclosure (BE), heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and other equipment and appliances are all part of the HVAC system
  • Building Enclosure Components and why they are part of the HVAC System
  • Roles and limitations of typical “HVAC” components
  • Introduction to Ventilation (balanced, fresh air supply, exhaust air, distribution systems, etc.)
  • Filtration and air treatment strategies: what works and what doesn’t
  • In the Field: Examples of HVAC related problems and solutions

Module #3

• Start at the design phase for IAQ: Performance specs, what to measure, what to verify
• What’s missing from nearly every set of building plans
• The Building Enclosure: defining inside, outside, and in-between
• HVAC design, code requirements, and the role of air tightness of IAQ
• Appliance and equipment choices matter. Limit combustion.
• Plan for Radon
• Materials - ‘that new home smell’
• In the Field: Examples of during and final construction best practices

Module #4

• Start with the existing home: testing and scope development at the schematic design phase
• Common problems: water and moisture, asbestos, crawls, basements, attics, radon, etc.
• Implications of tightening the building enclosure
• Paying for it: how proper scope definition can save money at point of construction and beyond
• Make Up Air and or Building Code evolution for new construction
• In the Field: Examples of during and final construction best and worst practices

Module #5

• Common symptoms of poor IAQ
• Diagnostic tools and methodologies
• Common causes and solutions
• Scope definition and performance specifications
• The limitations of building codes for existing buildings
• Project administration
• In the Field: Examples of during and final construction best and worst practices

Module #6

• The role of commissioning and documentation
• Occupant patterns and behaviors shape indoor air quality
• Necessary seasonal maintenance: How to operate and maintain your home
• Deferred maintenance vs. capital planning
• Recommendations for homeowner education
• New technologies, for good or ill
• In the Field: Examples of during and final project best and worst practices


Monica Rokicki

Monica is Founder and CEO of Better Building Works LLC in Roanoke, Virginia. She founded Better Building Works to help architects, builders, and homeowners with cost-effective strategies for designing and building new high-performance homes, strategic remodels where energy-performance, building durability, sustainability and occupant health are prioritized, and with building diagnostics for existing homes. Monica is an experienced architectural designer with various building performance certifications, including LEED AP BD+C and EBO+M, BPI, and HERS. Continuing education in this rapidly developing field augments her decades-long experience in building design. Monica has served as a Board Member with the Greater Virginia Green Building Council, is Past Chair for the ten-state USGBC Southeast Regional Committee, and has conducted numerous building performance presentations for the Roanoke Regional Home Builders Association, Virginia Building and Code Officials Association, Greenbuild Conference, and many others.

Indoor Air Quality


Course Includes:

  • Access to nearly 6 hours of video instruction for an entire year
  • Downloadable resources
  • AIA Approved 5 LU/HSW credits

Indoor Air Quality

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