Author Archives: sueishaq

New paper published in Buildings journal!

ESBL has a new study out, which was just published in the journal Buildings. This interdisciplinary case-study examined the indoor environment and air quality of a newly-constructed, cross-laminated timber office building in Portland, OR.  Researchers from ESBL, BioBE, PSU, and OSU (including the Tallwood Design Institute) came together to study indoor air quality, building vibration, bacteria in dust, and the experience of building occupants.

Monitored Indoor Environmental Quality of a Mass Timber Office Building: A Case Study

Jason Stenson 1,2,*, Suzanne L. Ishaq 2, Aurélie Laguerre 3, Andrew Loia 1, Georgia MacCrone 2, Ignace Mugabo 4, Dale Northcutt 1,2, Mariapaola Riggio 5, Andre Barbosa 4, Elliott T. Gall 3 and Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg 1,2
1 Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory, Department of Architecture, University of Oregon
2 Biology and the Built Environment Center, University of Oregon
3 Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Portland State University
School of Civil & Construction Engineering, Oregon State University
Department of Wood Science & Engineering, Oregon State University
Buildings 20199(6), 142;


A broad range of building performance monitoring, sampling, and evaluation was conducted periodically after construction and spanning more than a year, for an occupied office building constructed using mass timber elements such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor and roof panels, as well as glue-laminated timber (GLT) beams and columns. This case study contributes research on monitoring indoor environmental quality in buildings, describing one of the few studies of an occupied mass timber building, and analyzing data in three areas that impact occupant experience: indoor air quality, bacterial community composition, and floor vibration. As a whole, the building was found to perform well. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde, were analyzed using multiple methods. Formaldehyde was found to be present in the building, though levels were below most recommended exposure limits. The source of formaldehyde was not able to be identified in this study. The richness of the bacterial community was affected by the height of sampling with respect to the floor, and richness and composition was affected by the location within the building. Floor vibration was observed to be below recognized human comfort thresholds.

ESBL students in BioMimicry Design find inspiration in basking sharks

ESBL grad students Julia May and Alex Balog worked on the Basking Filter project as an extension of their Biomimicry and Parametric Design course taught by Nancy Cheng, Chair of the Architecture Department at UO. With interests in engineering, industrial processes, and filtration, they began to research various filter feeders to see if nature’s wisdom could help inspire a self-cleaning filter. After learning about the Basking Shark and its amazing adaptations, Julia and Alex came to the ESBL to discuss using the wind tunnel to run experiments. Guided by research done at William and Mary, Alex and Julia tested some simple geometries to see if they could create eddies to aid in a self-cleaning process. Last week they submitted their re-design of water treatment plants to a Biomimicry Design Challenge. The treatment plant uses the properties of the filter (mixing and separation) to speed up critical processes, while performing the self-cleaning function.

You can find the slides for their pitch here