The health problems of building occupants is often found to be directly related to Indoor Air Quality problems. When air quality is determined to be the issue, aggressive action to improve the air quality in the building is required. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advocates three strategies for managing and improving Indoor Air Quality:
1. Source Control: For most Indoor Air Quality problems, identifying the source is the first and most effective step in drastically reducing the problem. Make notes of any damages or leaks and check for possible air contaminants while walking around the building. Also, vacuum carpet frequently and wash hard floors. Store cleaning supplies in well-ventilated areas away from employees and schedule housekeeping-type activities after hours. Ban indoor smoking and provide a well-ventilated outdoor area for smokers. After making improvements and corrections, consult with building occupants to see if poor air quality complaints persist or if they’ve improved.
2. Increased Ventilation: Indoor Air Quality can improve greatly when HVAC systems are running at optimal levels and as they were designed. Improve ventilation by increasing the amount of air coming into a room or area while pushing stale air out. When air pollutants aren’t flushed out, they can become concentrated. Also, when a building’s ventilation is inadequate, contaminants can be brought into the building from outside.
3. Air Cleaning: In conjunction with source removal and improved ventilation, cleaning the air can greatly improve Indoor Air Quality. Typical HVAC particle filters are ineffective in controlling many airborne contaminants, but high-performance filtration that IQAir provides can drastically reduce harmful fine and ultrafine particles in the air. Gases and chemicals, however, require a high-performance gas-phase filtration, which includes activated-carbon filtration of gases and chemicals.
Taking action to improve Indoor Air Quality can have a profound impact on the health of building occupants. They will be able to work more effectively and live healthier lives, while building and facilities managers will help improve occupancy rates and protect the investment of building owners.