Sustainable Indoor Environmental Air Quality

sustainable - indoor - air quality

When creating sustainable indoor air quality, it’s important to look at the relationship between people and the buildings where they live and work. Many indoor air pollutants impact our health. Studies have shown that poor indoor air quality can impair cognitive functioning in children. It also triggers respiratory ailments and can lead to loss of productivity in workers. Once we recognize that sustainable indoor air quality is important to a healthy home and work environment, it’s important to understand what it is.

What is Indoor Environmental Quality?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) refers to the “quality of a building’s environment in relation to the health and wellbeing of those who occupy space within it.” It’s the air we breathe, the lighting we see by, and the dampness or dryness of the air we feel. It’s also the temperature we feel and even the acoustics we experience in the buildings we spend time in. These factors impact the productivity of workers as well as our health and wellbeing at home.

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a part of the indoor environment that focuses on ventilation. It’s the air we breathe and more importantly, what is in that air. Particles in the air get breathed into the lungs where they trigger respiratory problems. This includes dust and mold spores which trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Allergens such as pollen, fungi, and bacteria cause symptoms of watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, and headaches.

The presence and levels of volatile organic compounds also impact health. VOCs found in cleaning products, paint, upholstered furniture, carpeting, and office machines pose a risk. Other sources of these harmful compounds include:

  • Caulks and coatings
  • Adhesives and sealants
  • Wallcoverings
  • Fuels and combustion products
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Air fresheners and other scented products
  • Perfume, shampoos, and personal care products

Insects such as dust mites also affect IAQ. The temperature and relative humidity also contribute to the comfort and overall health of the indoor environment.

Sustainable Indoor Air Quality

Dampness combined with high humidity levels poses a threat to sustainable indoor air quality. Dampness occurs in buildings when water enters from outside. This happens after periods of heavy rains and flooding. Water from burst pipes that collects and sits under rugs, tiles, and walls adds excessive moisture to the air. This creates the ideal environment for mold to grow. Lack of proper ventilation due to dirty, underperforming HVAC units also contributes to poor IAQ.

Allergen Test Kit - Home and Work - Indoor Environment
Test your home for common allergens.

Testing Indoor Environmental Conditions

To determine what may cause illness and discomfort in the home or office requires testing. DIY screening kits provide the results needed to take action. For example, once the presence of mold has been established, remediation efforts are the next step. If a high level of VOCs results from testing, then better storage of cleaning products is recommended. 

Of course, the risk of airborne transmission of viruses such as COVID-19 concerns homeowners, building managers, and school administrators.  In any case, air purifiers remain an effective way to provide clean air indoors. These easy-to-use, cost-effective machines use bipolar ionization to destroy pathogens and remove them from the air. For example, a device like the PURE-Plasma Air 600 neutralizes airborne contaminants and removes odors too.

Testing For Allergens

Mold is a common allergy found in carpets, building materials, cardboard boxes, and furniture. It forms around doors, windows, behind baseboards, and ceiling tiles. With the right conditions of high humidity and moisture, mold colonies thrive and spread spores through the air. These spores attach to clothing, skin, and our pets where they spread throughout the building. A mold test kit determines the presence of mold.

Dust is another common indoor allergen. The tiny insects, called dust mites, that feed of dust particles also trigger allergy symptoms in some people. Dust consists of dead skin cells, pet dander, fabric, insect parts, and food particles. A home dust kit is a quick and easy way to determine what is in the dust in your home or office.

Detecting Dangerous Contaminants

Chemicals commonly found indoors affect the ability to create sustainable indoor air quality. For example, organic vapors and compounds from office machines and furniture may be making people sick. A naturally occurring gas like radon is impossible to detect by smell or sight alone and poses a risk for serious diseases such as lung cancer. A test kits provides answers in a fast, efficient way.

Get Sustainable Indoor Air Quality Today

In conclusion, if the environment in your home or workplace makes you ill, find out the source and order a test kit today. Call us at 727-572-4550 with your questions.