Healthy 2023 – Improving Your Building’s Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality or IAQ is a big concern for a lot of building owners. Poor indoor air quality can cause several problems, including sicker employees, decreased productivity, and poor HVAC efficiency. Buildings full of people are full of things that can pollute the air – hair, dust, allergens, cleaning products, pet dander that travels on clothes, and more.
For the well-being of employees and clients, it’s important to run a clean building that maintains a good indoor air quality. We’ll review how proper HVAC maintenance, air pollution source control, relative humidity control, and other efforts can help keep the air in your building healthy.
The HVAC system in your building plays the biggest role in maintaining health indoor air quality. Indoor pollutants travel through the HVAC system and its exhaust fans help those pollutants exit the building safely. For this to work the way it’s supposed to work, you must make sure your HVAC system is fully optimized and in close-to-perfect working order.
This means performing routine maintenance like ductwork inspections, regular cleaning and adjustment, and changing the air filter on time. It’s also crucial that you make sure HVAC vents are unencumbered by furniture and other office equipment.
As for the filter, work with your HVAC professional to determine the highest Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating your HVAC system can use. The higher the MERV rating on the filter, the better it is at trapping airborne particles.
Air Pollution Source Control
Identifying the source of pollution in your building is probably the very best way to improve your building’s indoor air quality. Single out the main offenders in your building, like certain paints, adhesives, solvents, cleaning products, and pesticides. Store these offensive pollutants in airtight containers to decrease the impact they have on the indoor air.
If you’re planning a renovation, make sure you tell the contractor that you want them to use low-VOC flooring and wood products, adhesives, and paints. Keep outdoor pollutants out the building by keeping windows and doors closed when outdoor air quality is bad.
Relative Humidity Control
Improper humidity in a commercial building can lead to mildew or mold and other issues that thrive in humid, warm climates. When a building’s relative humidity is high, it can lead to rapid growth of organisms that cause pollution. This damages furniture and building materials and can lead to major health issues in employees.
The EPA says that the relative humidity should be between 30% and 50%. Your commercial HVAC system can help you keep the relative humidity of your building in check, and you can use an air quality monitor to make sure the building isn’t too humid.
Indoor Air Quality Monitors
We recommend indoor air quality monitors, whenever possible. Don’t rely on your own nose, or the fact that employees will complain, to recognize paint fumes or the smell of mold. Most indoor air quality monitors measure a range of indoor pollutants, including organic and chemical compounds.
The data you can get from an indoor air quality monitor can inform what you do next to make your building happier and healthier. Building managers can tell when it’s time to turn on an air purifier, increase ventilation, or crank up a humidifier. We recommend air quality monitors that give you data in each room so that you can employ portable air filters as needed.
Keeping your building free from pollutants and making sure the air quality is safe and healthy is the single biggest responsibility a building owner faces. Contact us today to run a full audit of your space, and help you have a healthy building in 2023.