Businesses have a vested interest in ensuring that employees are as productive as possible while on the job. Sometimes, higher productivity can be achieved by providing more ergonomic office furniture, or faster, more powerful computers. However, the most important consideration for employee productivity is indoor air quality.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed studies which have found that air quality inside a building is often worse than the air quality outside. As well, other studies have found that poor indoor air quality in workspaces may cost our nation over 10 billion dollars per year in increased hospital visits and greatly diminished productivity.
What Affects Air Quality?
While each building’s HVAC system is unique in terms of the specific environment it can create, there are a few common factors that can have an effect on indoor air quality. These can include system maintenance, system design, system operation, moisture, humidity, and sources of odors or pollutants.
How Can Air Quality Be Improved?
The three main strategies for improving indoor air quality are:
Controlling Pollutants – Pollutants can have many sources, including housekeeping, maintenance, renovation, etc. Types of pollutants can include things such as biological contaminants (bacteria, viruses, fungi), chemicals (tobacco smoke, cleaning products, combustion gases such as carbon monoxide), or particulates (sawdust, dust from the operation of machinery, drywall dust). It’s important to limit exposure to these things either by removing or separating them from people through a physical barrier or air pressure differential.
Ensuring Adequate Outside Ventilation – A critical component of any HVAC system is a connection to, and exchange with outside air. This fresh outside air, when mixed with the existing inside air, is critical for good indoor air quality because it helps to dilute and remove any pollutants.
Using Filtering Systems – Maintaining and changing the filters on a commercial HVAC system is one of the simplest things a facilities manager can do to improve indoor air quality. Filters are used to purify the recirculating air inside of a building and can also be used to clean outside air before entering a building.
Indoor air quality should not be ignored. Maintaining HVAC systems can help reduce allergens, pollutants, and particulate matter that can lead to increased absenteeism and lower employee productivity. Healthy indoor air makes for a more comfortable work environment. For help with your indoor air quality concerns, speak to Donnelly Mechanical experts.