Henry H. Slack
Environmental Engineer (Retired)
139 Erie Ave.
Decatur , GA 30030
United States
(404) 217-4229
Region: IV
Honorarium: None

From 1991 to 2018, Henry Slack managed the Indoor Air Program for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4, which covers eight southeastern states. In this position, he offers expertise concerning indoor air to citizens or public agencies with questions on topics as diverse as mold, odors, ozone, carbon monoxide, air cleaners, ventilation systems, and secondhand tobacco smoke. The EPA program is non-regulatory. A frequent presenter at conferences, he wrote (with Janise Palmer) and presented “Elevated Radon in Concrete Residential Buildings” at the ASHRAE Indoor Air ’13 Conference in Vancouver, B.C.

Mr. Slack had a temporary assignment to the CDC National Center for Environmental Health, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, in 1998, where he investigated the use of unvented residential heating appliances (which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning). In 2004, he was appointed a Fellow through Partners of the Americas, and spent a month and a half in Barbados training and assisting staff of the Barbados environmental agency.

In previous work, he was responsible for energy management programs for the U.S. General Services Administration, Region 4; designed rooftop air conditioning units for Seasons-4, Inc., a small manufacturer; and served as the Energy Coordinator at Fort McPherson in Atlanta.

Mr. Slack earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1974 from Southwestern at Memphis (now called Rhodes College) in Memphis, Tennessee, and a Master of Science in 1980 from Georgia Institute of Technology. He joined ASHRAE in 1988.

Fixing the Great Indoors: HVAC and Indoor Air Quality

Most of the time, we breathe without a thought, hundreds of times each hour – unless there’s a problem.  When something’s wrong, it’s due to pollutants, people, pathways, and pressure differences.  The best solution often is to find the sources and control them, or fix the pathways and pressures. This presentation will focus on what goes wrong in our buildings that engineers can manage –intakes, dampers, filters, coils, drain pans, fans, and controls.  Instead of testing, a visual inspection (walk-through) can identify many likely sources and pathways, which are often inexpensive to fix.

Ventilation Research: Is More Air Better for Us?

Recent research by leading indoor air scientists clearly suggests health benefits may not level off until outside air deliveryapproaches 50 CFM/person.  While less outside air cuts energy bills, research suggests that additional outside air may pay for itself, from a reduction in symptoms and greater productivity.   Studies in schools have found statistically significant correlations between test scores and quantity of ventilation air.  A small study found CO2 levels of 1,000 and 2,500 ppm caused losses in the ability to make decisions.  The speaker will review all the recent ventilation research on all sides of the issue.

Indoor Air Disasters and Resilience: Stories of Recovery from Katrina, Hurricanes, Wildfires, and Other Disasters

The U.S. has had fires, floods, and storms in recent years, such as Hurricane Katrina, which flooded New Orleans in 2005. The “Katrina cough” affecting residents was soon reported in U.S. news outlets. What is the effect of disasters on IAQ?  Can we prevent carbon monoxide poisonings?  This presentation will tell stories from past disasters, and suggest ways we can avoid problems in the future.

How Can Climate Change Impact Indoor Air and Health?

Indoor environments can be significantly impacted by climate changes such as large increases or decreases in rainfall and snowfall, extremely high or low temperatures, and changes in the severity of storms. Increased rainfall may lead to increased risk of flooding and dampness indoors, and growth of mold indoors. Decreased rainfall or droughts may lead to wildfires that will create particulate air pollution that can seep indoors. Extreme temperatures and storms may drive people to stay indoors to protect themselves from the elements, and increase their use of heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) systems.  The speaker will discuss these findings, which suggest methods by which engineers and architects can make our buildings more climate-ready.

Catching Your Breath; Is Your Outside Air Always Safe to Breathe?

Ventilation is crucial for ASHRAE – but how good is the outside air? 40% of Americans live in places that don’t meet EPA standards for air quality. Since 1970, US EPA has defined air quality and worked with states to improve it. Recently EPA has lowered acceptable pollutant levels, so new areas may have become “non-attainment”. ASHRAE members may be called on to remove contaminants before they enter the building. The speaker will review criteria pollutants and EPA Web resources for up-to-date information.

After the Mold Rush: Solving Mold Problems
Since a $32 million mold lawsuit in 1999, molds have been a big business. What does this mean to ASHRAE members? How can we respond to our customers whose employees are fearful of molds and their health effects? US EPA prepared common sense guidelines which suggest a simple message: stop the water that allows it to grow, and clean it up. Many problems can be dealt with simply and effectively with current employees. The speaker will cover all guidelines for mold, including EPA’s recommendations, and discuss advantages and disadvantages of each.
Climate Change: How ASHRAE Members Can Prepare
Dozens of indicators tell us how much our climate has changed already; not just temperatures, but rainfall, wildfires, ocean heat and acidity, sea level, and much more, even bird wintering ranges. As a result, we can expect to replace most fossil fuel use in our lifetimes. How will this affect our engineering? How can we best serve our clients, who want long-lived buildings? The presenter will give some ideas, but also moderate a session so that members can share their own ideas for their specific area.