Clean air is essential to our health. This is true both indoors and out. It’s true for workers in office buildings, factories, and warehouses. It’s also true for visitors to stores, restaurants, and gyms. Clean air is also important in the home. With the goal of cleaner indoor air in mind, the White House recently launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. The goal of this effort is to educate the public on the importance of IAQ and ventilation in building management. It recommends a mix of technologies for upgrading, repairing, and maintaining proper ventilation to protect the health of building occupants.
Why IAQ and Ventilation in Building Management are Important
The coronavirus and its many variants spread through aerosol transmission — they travel through the air and spread from one person to another. This puts the spotlight on the need for improved IAQ in commercial and residential buildings.
With low indoor air quality comes a number of health risks. Poor IAQ triggers allergy and asthma symptoms in some but has long-term consequences as well. Serious respiratory conditions may result from long-term exposure to pollutants. Not only does clean indoor air improve physical health, but it also improves cognitive functioning. This leads to better test scores in students and increased productivity in workers.
The Clean Air Challenge for Building Management
The Clean Air Challenge is the result of a joint effort between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Department of Energy (DOE) and other federal agencies also contributed to the creation of the campaign as a part of the government’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. The challenge includes four key actions building and facilities managers can take to improve IAQ.
Four Key Actions to Improve IAQ and Ventilation
The following actions improves building IAQ and ventilation. Taking these actions in the home also creates healthier living conditions.
1. Create an Action Plan for IAQ and Ventilation in Building Management
The first part of the challenge is to create a clean indoor action plan to address IAQ issues. This includes scheduling inspections of HVAC equipment. It also requires making necessary repairs and upgrades. Ongoing maintenance is also needed and the monitoring of indoor conditions ensures IAQ issues get addressed quickly. IAQ services include inspections, cleaning, and disinfecting of HVAC systems. A building sciences services firm, like Pure Air Control Services, offers a suite of services to upgrade equipment and restore and refinish components. A good IAQ firm also provides continuous and remote monitoring of indoor conditions.
2. Optimize IAQ and Ventilation
The next step of the challenge requires that facilities managers at schools, universities, office buildings, and commercial businesses optimize fresh air in their buildings. This means improving the flow of fresh outdoor air into buildings. Simple steps in this effort include running HVAC systems when the building is occupied. Another way to get more fresh air indoors is to keep windows open as the weather allows. This can be done in the workplace and in the home. Replacing HVAC filters with MERV-13 air filters improves the system’s ability to filter out pathogens.
3. Enhance Air Filtration and Use Air Cleaning Technologies
Improved filtration reduces the number of pollutants in the air. This includes dust, mold, and bacteria as well as pathogens. Regular cleaning of HVAC systems also improves their performance and lowers energy costs. Air cleaning devices also add to the efforts of the ventilation system. They provide further protection against the spread of allergens and airborne viruses. Depending on the model, purifiers clean the air in rooms from 150 square feet up to 1,100 square feet with some delivering an air change every 20 minutes.
4. Stay Engaged
Finally, the Clean Air Challenge recommends that building management engage the entire building community on IAQ issues. This means encouraging building occupants to report issues and concerns about air quality. Acting on these concerns demonstrates management’s willingness to address issues and improve the safety of buildings.
Learn More About IAQ and Ventilation in Building Management
When building management stays on top of IAQ and ventilation, the result is happier, healthier workers. When homeowners address IAQ in the home, this makes for a healthier environment too. To learn more about improving IAQ and ventilation as well as air cleaning technologies, give us a call at 727-440-5209.