Building operators who allow smoking will have to cough up more money for ventilation, but those who don't will be able to breathe easier financially as a result of new indoor air quality standards adopted this week by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.
For nonsmoking areas, the additional costs of new rules which are designed to protect the public against indoor air pollution are expected to be minimal, according to Ashrae President Charles Sepsy.
"I do not see a dramatic increase in energy being required," Sepsy said.
However Ashrae is recommending that the recirculation rate of filtered air, or the amount of fresh air required to be brought in, be doubled for a smoking area of a building compared to a nonsmoking.
James Wood, co-author of the Ashrae document said this would definitely make smokers more expensive for a building's management and could lead additional state and local governments to deprive them of their pleasure in more public areas.
Throughout the nation, 47 states have adopted the organization's model energy code and Sepsy said it would be very easy for them to add on the air purity improvements to their laws.
He expects most of those governments will so within the next year.
Ashrae officials strongly pressed their arguments that improved indoor air quality is consistent with the goals of energy conservation.
The journal of the American Medical Association recently suggested in an editorial that energy conservation measures be curtailed until more is known about the dangers of pollutants from building materials and humans remaining stagnant in the air of a heavily insulated building.