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What Every Builder Should Know About Indoor Air Quality

Poor air quality can bring about anything from uneasiness to severe or unending diseases. These variables make the building less desirable to be in and can take a financial toll. Stale, indoor air can also cause a steady decrease in worker productivity and additional problems.

As we learn more about the impacts of air quality in buildings, quality tenants are beginning to request a proactive way to deal with indoor air contamination.

Indoor air quality has a strong correlation with productivity.

People spend 90 percent of their time indoors, breathing air that is often stale or contaminated by trace pollutants. For a large company, the costs of even a small decline in average performance due to high CO2 levels or to an increase in sick days are very significant. Proactive measures that result in a superior quality of indoor air aren’t just a way to avoid complaints anymore; they’re a way of attracting new and better tenants.

Symptoms and Illnesses Caused by Poor Indoor Air Quality

One of the most well-known illnesses caused by indoor air pollution is sick building syndrome (SBS). This is a catch-all term for symptoms that some residents or employees feel when they’re inside a particular building. Sick building syndrome has been tested and is generally accepted as a legitimate phenomenon. However, an important feature of it is that tests reveal no clear medical issues or cause.

The most common symptoms of SBS include lethargy, headache, nausea, difficulty concentrating, and irritation of the respiratory system or skin. In particular, sick building syndrome is suspected if symptoms go away upon leaving the building, if there is a particular part of the building that causes symptoms, or if more than one person is experiencing the symptoms. Sick building syndrome can also be seasonal, indicating an issue related to heating and cooling.

Common Indoor Air Pollutants and How To Control Them

To avoid indoor air pollution from combustion products, ensure that furnaces and generators are operating cleanly and efficiently. Pieces of large building equipment like this can release dangerous fumes when they aren’t working right. Be especially vigilant about intake vents – if people are smoking near them, that smoke will be sucked in a distributed about the building. For the same reason, trucks making deliveries should not be permitted to idle their engines during unloading.

Biological Contaminants

Apart from mold, biological contaminants like rodent droppings, insects, and dust mites can cause unpleasant odors and inflame allergies, making the building less pleasant and comfortable to inhabit. Pollen from plants is another important source of biological contamination in the spring and summer.
Allergy-causing contaminants can be reduced by frequently changing air filters and cleaning tenant spaces, but cannot be completely eliminated.

Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide

Carbon dioxide and its deadlier cousin, carbon monoxide, are always present in any space at low concentrations. In enclosed spaces, carbon monoxide can be lethal, but the risk is relatively small, especially in commercial buildings where most activity takes place away from the ground floor. Property managers with properly maintained HVAC systems and CO detectors have very little to fear from carbon monoxide.

Managing carbon dioxide is tricky, but with the right investment and communications strategy, active CO2 management can become an attractive value-adding amenity. CO2 monitors in high-traffic spaces help you detect above-normal concentrations letting you increase ventilation.

Actionable Steps To Improve Indoor Air Quality

Here’s a quick recap of the steps you should take to ensure that your building’s air quality is up to par. Remember that achieving museum-quality air requires an investment in air quality monitoring hardware and a commitment to best practices. Doing this is real work, but the value that you are adding to tenants should make it worthwhile. Air as an amenity – who can argue with that?

For more information on how to improve your indoor air quality contact USI online or find a branch near you. USI believes that excellence in every step of the process and ensures timely completion and quality of service, time after time.

Article Source: Aquicore