Commercial Air Quality: Why Employers Should Care About Indoor Air Quality
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a growing recognition of the significance of commercial indoor air quality (IAQ). Despite this heightened awareness, many people tend to overlook what can actually be done to enhance the quality of air in an indoor environment. While much attention was given to wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and hand sanitization during the pandemic, the crucial aspect of IAQ was often sidelined. Understanding and addressing IAQ is essential, as poor indoor air quality can lead to various health problems, including respiratory issues, allergies, and fatigue. Additionally, it can create environments more susceptible to the spread of airborne viruses. This concern extends beyond our homes to our workplaces, where a substantial part of our day is spent.
The Silent Progression: Gradual Changes in Commercial Air Quality
Despite the increasing awareness, it is still a frequently overlooked issue due to its silent nature. Indoor air quality issues often arise slowly and subtly, unlike a sudden event that demands immediate attention. Over time, mold growth, dust accumulation, or ventilation problems can gradually occur, allowing them to blend into the background noise of our lives. These subtle changes make it challenging to pinpoint the exact moment when IAQ starts to deteriorate.
IAQ can also often be glanced over due to a general lack of understanding regarding its significance. Many individuals are still unaware of the health implications of poor indoor air quality. Respiratory problems, allergies, and fatigue can be attributed to IAQ issues, but these symptoms are often dismissed or attributed to other causes, further masking the problem.
The Growing Industry of Indoor Air Quality for Commercial Buildings
In recent years, with an increased demand for treating IAQ, the industry has propelled into a phase of significant growth and innovation. Various technologies and adaptations are being widely adopted to enhance indoor air quality. From advanced filtration systems to intelligent air monitoring devices, the market is teeming with solutions designed to transform the way we think about indoor air.
This heightened awareness of IAQ benefits have not gone unnoticed by employers. Many businesses and organizations are recognizing the positive impact that clean and healthy indoor air can have on the well-being and productivity of their employees. As a result, employers are increasingly investing in IAQ solutions for their workplaces, ensuring that their staff members can work in environments that promote good health and overall wellness.
Check out the 60 Minutes interview on Indoor Air Quality: Indoor Air Systems and Public Health
Common IAQ Issues in the Workplace
In today’s fast-paced world, we spend a significant portion of our lives in the workplace. It’s not just a place where we accomplish tasks and meet deadlines; it’s also where we breathe, think, and interact. Therefore, ensuring good commercial air quality is crucial for the well-being, health, and productivity of employees. These are some common issues that can arise in the workplace:
Poor Ventilation: Inadequate ventilation can lead to a buildup of indoor pollutants, including carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Insufficient fresh air circulation can cause drowsiness, headaches, and a decrease in cognitive function.
Solution – Proper Ventilation Design: Implementing a well-designed ventilation system ensures an adequate supply of fresh outdoor air. Properly placed air intakes and exhausts can help prevent the recirculation of indoor pollutants.
Biological Contaminants: Mold, bacteria, and viruses can thrive in damp or humid environments, leading to respiratory issues, allergies, and infections among employees. One often overlooked breeding ground for these contaminants is the AC coils within HVAC systems. Over time, these coils can accumulate a biological film, providing a perfect environment for harmful microbes to grow and spread as well as decrease the efficiency of the AC.
Solution – Regular Maintenance and UV: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems must be regularly inspected and cleaned. It is crucial to pay special attention to AC coils, where the buildup of biological film can occur. Employing UV air purifiers within HVAC systems can efficiently reduce these microorganisms, ensuring clean, healthy air circulation throughout the workplace and a clean functioning AC Coil.
Particulate Matter: Dust, pollen, and other particulate matter can trigger allergies and worsen respiratory conditions like asthma. These particles often accumulate in the workplace, especially in areas with poor filtration systems or with improper maintenance.
Solution – Implementing Air Purifiers: Consider installing air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters in strategic locations within the workplace. These devices can capture particulate matter present in the air, providing an additional layer of filtration and improving indoor air quality.
VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted by cleaning products, paints, and office equipment can release harmful gases that may lead to eye irritation, headaches, and respiratory problems. These compounds, commonly found in various household and office items, can adversely affect indoor air quality, posing health risks to occupants, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
Solution – PCO technology and Carbon Filtration: Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) technology is a cutting-edge solution in the battle against VOCs. By employing a photocatalyst and ultraviolet light, PCO systems break down VOC molecules into harmless byproducts. This process ensures that indoor air is not only filtered but also purified at a molecular level, significantly reducing VOC concentrations. Activated carbon filters are highly effective in adsorbing VOCs. These filters feature a porous structure that traps VOC molecules, removing them from the air. When combined with other filtration technologies, activated carbon filters provide an additional layer of defense against VOC contamination.
Optimizing Commercial Air Quality: The Role of Air Monitoring Systems
In the pursuit of a healthy workplace environment, businesses are turning to advanced technologies to assist in the monitoring and control of systems to ensure optimal Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Air monitoring systems offer real-time data collection, proactive issue identification, precise control, and automation of HVAC systems and air purification devices. By analyzing trends and patterns, businesses can make informed decisions for long-term IAQ improvements. Moreover, these systems contribute to energy efficiency, cost savings, and, most importantly, enhance employee well-being and productivity. Investing in comprehensive monitor and control systems not only ensures compliance but also creates a positive, healthy, and thriving work environment for all.
At the end of the day, commercial air quality is not just a trend; it’s a necessity for the well-being of employees and the success of any business. Employers who invest in IAQ solutions demonstrate their commitment to creating a healthy work environment, benefiting both their workforce and their bottom line. As the awareness of IAQ continues to grow, it’s crucial for businesses to stay ahead by adopting advanced solutions. To learn more about how good IAQ can transform your workplace into a healthier and more productive space, check out some of our commercial air treatment products. Breathe easy; your employees deserve it.