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(Jul 9/08) I appreciate the facilities, the staff is great, and the resources are abundant, but I always feel like Im breathing dirty air. The air is always stale, especially in the winter (no circulation). Actually it feels like Im working in an outhouse. Its 2008, air circulation should not be a problem, at least not for $6000 /year tuition. Please resolve this matter ASAP. PS. Please note that air quality (E.P.A.) considers the air inside a home (with circulation) 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. Why are you killing us? Please follow up with a resolution, as Ill be discussing this matter with McMaster University Vice President.

Library response:

Thank you for your email. We do try to respond as soon as we get complaints about air quality, but in some cases there is not much which can be done.

Normally the percentage of fresh air being circulated in the library is in the 20-30% range, dropping no lower than 10% but can be up to 80%. When the addition of outside air would dramatically improve our inside air (for example a heat wave outside when the heat is still on in the library) we would request that Campus Facilities Services open the dampers wider to permit more outside air to come in. During a particularly bad cold snap we would request that the dampers be closed significantly to help us keep the library warm. We do need to keep in mind that all fresh air has to be conditioned before being circulating, so the more fresh air brought in the more work the HVAC system must do. In addition, the library uses a forced air cooling system (not a/c) which does not include any humidity controls, so some days in can feel quite sticky, depending on what is happening outside.

There can also appear to be problems with air circulation at times, depending on several factors, including where you are in the building, whether maintenance is being performed on the fans, etc.  Monthly maintenance is done on each of the 30 fans which serve Mills. Each fan requiring service (filter changed, belt replaced, etc) must be shut down to do this maintenance. Finally, Mills library has had four additions to the original building, each of which required a new HVAC system to be sync'd with an existing system, which is always problematic.

Please do continue to report these types of problems to us when you notice them and we will do our best to remedy the situation. 

(Jul 14/08)
Answered by: Anne Pottier (Associate University Librarian, Library Services)

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