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Commercial Air Quality

Why Employers Should Care About Indoor Air Quality

Commercial Air Quality: Why Employers Should Care About Indoor Air Quality

In the early 2020s, we all got a reality check about our health, right? This got us thinking more about commercial indoor air quality (IAQ), a topic gaining some serious traction. But here’s the kicker – even with all this health talk, people seem to be forgetting the basics of keeping the air we breathe at work in check, and that’s a game-changer for lowering health risks.

Remember the pandemic days? We were very concerned about masks, social distancing, hand sanitizing however for some reason, indoor air quality wasn’t part of the main conversation. Here’s the deal: it’s not just about avoiding the common cold. Poor indoor air quality can mess with our health, leading to respiratory problems, allergies, and that end-of-the-day fatigue we’re all familiar with.

We usually associate clean air with our homes, but let’s not forget – we clock in a significant chunk of our day at work so we all should pay attention to the air quality in our workplace. Clean air isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must, especially for place where we spend a 1/3 or our day. It’s a smart move to prioritizing a healthy work environment for business success.

The Silent Progression: Gradual Changes in Commercial Air Quality

Although there is an increased appreciation for airborne particles, illnesses and more, fixing the problem is still frequently overlooked since poor air quality can’t be easily seen or tracked. Most of the time, indoor air quality issues arise slowly and subtly, unlike the pandemic of the early 2020s. Poor air can develop over time from poor ventilation, mold growth, dust accumulation, or even visitors. These issues lead to an ongoing concern without the means to validate whether the air in our homes or office is good or bad. 

Many of us fully understand the impact that poor air quality can have on our lives. Respiratory problems, allergies, and fatigue can all be attributed to indoor air quality issues, but these symptoms are often dismissed or attributed to other causes, We have all done it. It must be pollen, it must be smog or it must be what I am eating or that I am not working out. Yes these can all be contributing factors, but air quality could also be a major contributing factor to what ails you.

The Growing Industry of Indoor Air Quality for Commercial Buildings

In recent years, with an increased awareness of the concerns poor air have on our health. the indoor air quality industry has seen significant growth. Companies are offering not only age-old solutions like filters, some companies are offering newer solutions to fight the battle against poor air. From advanced filtration systems to UV and PCO technology along with intelligent air monitoring devices, there are many more solutions these days, designed to transform the way we think about indoor air. 

Employers are starting to acknowledge the important benefits of having quality air in the office including a positive impact ton the well-being and productivity of their employees. When employees feel better, they are more productive. As a result, employers are investing in IAQ solutions, ensuring that their staff members can work in an office that promotes 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 an office or building. It’s not just a place where we make calls, write reports and meet deadlines; it’s also where we breathe, think, and interact. Therefore, business owners should be investing in commercial air quality technology to enhance the well-being, health, and productivity of employees. These are some common problems in the modern workplace: 

  • Ventilation: A lot of buildings do not have the proper amount of ventilation, so there is not enough fresh air. Without fresh air, the building can have a larger level of indoor pollutants like carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When the pollutants are high, employees feel sluggish, have headaches, and ma possibly see a drop in their cognitive abilities. So, what’s the fix?
    • Smart Ventilation Design: Your ventilation system needs to ensure a constant flow of fresh outdoor air all day long. And those intake and exhaust vents? They should be strategically placed to keep pollutants from lingering around the office.
  • Biological Contaminants: Your HVAC system could inadvertently become a cozy home for mold, bacteria, and viruses – especially in damp or humid conditions. Even the AC coils can get a biofilm on them, offering a perfect playground for these unwelcome microbes. To make matters worse, these biofilm can hurt your system’s efficiency. So, what can you do?
    • Regular Maintenance is Key: Getting the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems along with the vents checked and cleaned on a regular basis. Pay extra attention to those AC coils, where that sneaky biological film can set up shop. It’s all about keeping things clean and healthy for everyone’s well-being.
    • Ultraviolet C (UV-C): One effective solution is adding UV air purifiers within the HVAC system, whether in the ductwork or through portable units. UV can reduce microorganisms, ensuring clean, healthy air circulation throughout the workplace. Plus, UV has the ability to clean the biofilm off of the AC Coil. 
  • Air Particles: Dust, pollen, and other particles can be prevalent when there is poor filtration, ventilation or improper maintenance of the system. These particles often accumulate in the workplace and can trigger allergies and worsen respiratory conditions like asthma. 
    • Solution – Implementing Air Purifiers: Consider installing air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters in strategic locations within the workplace. These devices can capture these particles and as a result improve the indoor air quality. 
  • VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can be found at home or at the workplace. VOCs are emitted by cleaning products, paints, and office equipment. They  release harmful gases that may lead to eye irritation, headaches, and respiratory problems. These compounds can adversely affect indoor air quality, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. What can be done to remove VOCs from the building?
    • Add PCO technology: Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) technology is a cutting-edge technology used to fight off VOCs. PCO combines a photocatalyst with an ultraviolet light to break down VOCs into harmless byproducts. This process ensures that indoor air is purified at a molecular level, significantly reducing VOC concentrations. 
    • Carbon Filtration: Activated carbon filters adsorbs the VOCs to that they can’t circulate through the building. The reason it works is that carbon has a very porous structure that traps the VOCs.

Optimizing Commercial Air Quality: The Role of Air Monitoring Systems

Business owners are becoming more aware of the negative effects of poor air quality and are turning to air quality technologies to assist in the monitoring and the control of the air in the building. The first step is to understand whether the air in the building is bad or good. Adding an air monitoring systems offers 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, an air monitoring system helps with energy efficiency and ultimately cost savings.

The second step is to pair the appropriate air quality devices with the air monitoring system for a whole office solution. Investing in a comprehensive monitor and control systems ensures compliance but also creates a positive, healthy, and thriving work environment for all. 

Takeaways

Commercial air quality is not just a trend; it’s a vital element for employee well-being and can significantly boost business success. Employers showcase their dedication to both their workforce and financial performance by investing in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) solutions. As the recognition of IAQ importance expands, it becomes imperative for businesses to proactively embrace 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. Your employees will thank you for it.

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